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The Spell of Vermeer

All-Day Program

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Code: 1H0295

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"A Lady Writing", ca. 1665, by Johannes Vermeer (National Gallery of Art)

A master of light and color, Vermeer (1632—1675) created a timeless world where the smallest actions take on a beauty beyond their commonplace settings. His artistry rests in his ability to transform a simple daily activity—such as pouring a jug of milk or reading a letter—into a sensitive exploration of the human experience. Though few in number, his paintings are considered some of the finest art ever created.

Well-regarded during his lifetime, but almost forgotten thereafter, Vermeer has continuously inspired other artists and writers since his rediscovery at the end of the 19th century. His masterpieces, including The Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Milkmaid, The Woman in the Red Hat, The Music Lesson, and a few dozen more, were meticulously created, often taking six months or more to complete. His gloriously lit, serene, and exquisitely rendered genre paintings still speak to us today.

Art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine begins with a discussion of Vermeer’s place within the artistic culture of Holland, with an emphasis on his native city of Delft, then takes closer looks at some of his favorite subjects and the meanings they possibly reveal. The day ends with a survey of Vermeer’s legacy as reflected in the work of artists and writers from the end of the 19th century to the present.                           

9:30–10:45 a.m.  Vermeer and His Milieu

11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.  Themes and Ideas  

12:15–1:15 p.m.  Lunch (participants provide their own)

1:15–2:30 p.m.  Vermeer’s Women

2:45–4 p.m.  Vermeer’s Legacy

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1 credit

This program complements the National Gallery of Art exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry, Oct. 22–Jan. 21, 2018


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)