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Art Events

Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum Sees Record-breaking Turnout for Vermeer Exhibition

  • Culture.org
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  • June 14, 2023
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  • 3 minute read
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Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum Sees Record-breaking Turnout for Vermeer Exhibition

Discover how the Vermeer exhibition at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum broke visitor records with over 650,000 attendees.

Key Takeaways
  • The recent Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum broke all previous records by attracting 650,000 visitors in a four-month run.
  • The exhibition showcased an unprecedented collection of Vermeer's works, including 'The Milkmaid' and 'The Girl With the Pearl Earring'.
  • The Rijksmuseum initiated several research projects during the exhibition, providing new insights into Vermeer's techniques and creative process.

Rijksmuseum’s Vermeer Showcase: A Blockbuster Event that Shattered Records

Imagine the excitement and passion of 650,000 art lovers gathering under one roof, all in the span of just 16 weeks. That was the scene at Amsterdam‘s renowned Rijksmuseum recently, where a Johannes Vermeer exhibition, which ran until the 4th of June, managed to break all previous visitor records, making it the most attended exhibition in the museum‘s history. The standard entrance fee of €30 did little to deter the eager crowds, who arrived in droves to witness the works of the Dutch Old Master.

A Global Audience Gathered to Admire the Masterpieces

As the numbers rolled in, the exhibit proved itself to be a true international event. Over half the attendees (55%) were locals, with the rest hailing from all corners of the globe. Visitors came from France (7.7%), Germany (7.2%), the United Kingdom (7.2%), and even across the Atlantic from the United States (6.3%).

The exhibition, an impressive collection of 28 out of Vermeer’s 37 works, included the cherished ‘The Milkmaid’ and ‘The Girl With the Pearl Earring’, which had been returned to The Hague’s Mauritshuis museum earlier in March. Significantly, the Rijksmuseum also showcased the upgraded painting ‘Girl with a Flute’ (1664-67 or later), borrowed from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

A Unprecedented Collection and A Celebrated Director’s Gratitude

Taco Dibbits, the general director of the Rijksmuseum, expressed his joy about the exhibition’s success. “We wanted the visitors to enjoy it to the fullest. This was only possible by limiting the number of visitors. The Rijksmuseum is grateful for the generous loans from museums around the world that have enabled it to bring together more works by Vermeer than ever before,” he said.

Although it was a Herculean task to bring together three-quarters of Vermeer’s works into one place, the gamble paid off. Curators Gregor J.M. Weber and Pieter Roelofs were commended for their trust in the ‘less is more’ approach.

Not Just Art, But An Educational Journey

This wasn’t merely an exhibition of Vermeer’s works; it was also an opportunity for academic exploration. Several research projects were initiated during the event. One such study discovered that Vermeer was a patient perfectionist, continually striving for the perfect composition, as evidenced by the underpainting of ‘The Milkmaid’.While the exhibit has closed, Vermeer aficionados will still be able to view six of his paintings in the Rijksmuseum’s Gallery of Honour from June 7 to October 10, including ‘The Girl in the Red Hat’ and ‘Young Woman at the Virginal’, alongside works from the museum’s own Vermeer collection.

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