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Exploring the Physical and Psychological Realities in Vermeer’s Genre Paintings

Vermeer’s genre paintings depict men and women engaged in daily activities that seem familiar and related to our own lives. We greatly admire his ability to depict the physical reality of these scenes, whether through the shimmer of satin, the translucency of glass, or his mastery of light. Less noticed, however, is how successfully he conveyed the inner life of his figures. This talk by Arthur Wheelock will examine this important aspect of Vermeer’s artistic genius by examining the types of moments he portrayed, and the relationships of his figures to their milieu.

Image result for arthur wheelock

Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. is Senior Advisor to The Leiden Collection. He recently retired as curator of Northern Baroque painting at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and as Professor of Art History at the University of Maryland. During his tenure at the National Gallery from 1975 to 2018, Wheelock oversaw a significant expansion of the Gallery’s collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings and organized a number of major exhibitions, including Gods, Saints & Heroes: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt (1980), Anthony van Dyck (1990), Johannes Vermeer (1995), Rembrandt’s Late Religious Portraits (2005), Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Rediscovered (2008),  Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt (2016), and Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry (2017). Wheelock has lectured widely on Dutch and Flemish art and has written many articles and books, among them Jan Vermeer (1981), Vermeer and the Art of Painting (1995), and the catalogues of the National Gallery’s Dutch (1995) and Flemish (2005) paintings. His revised and expanded Dutch catalogue, which was published online in 2014, received the George Wittenborn Book Award as the best art publication in the United States for that year.

Wheelock holds numerous awards and distinctions in his field. In 1982, at the time of the Dutch-American Bicentennial, he was named Knight Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau by the Dutch government. In 1993, he received the College Art Association award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation. In 1996 he received the Minda de Gunzburg Prize for best exhibition catalogue of the year, the Johannes Vermeer Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Dutch art, the Bicentennial Medal from Williams College, and the Dutch-American Achievement Award, presented by The Netherlands-American Amity Trust. In 2006, he was named Commander in The Order of Leopold I by the Belgian government. In 2008, the University of Maryland created a doctoral fellowship in his name. In 2015, he received The Kellogg Award for lifetime career achievement from Williams College.

*Please note that this lecture starts at 5pm and not 6:30pm as advertised in the Collection's November E-Newsletter

Main Image: Johannes VermeerA Lady Writing, c. 1665 (c) National Gallery of Art, Washington

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  • Evening Lecture gen. admission £15.00 0 30 max
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Vermeer’s genre paintings depict men and women engaged in daily activities that seem familiar and related to our own lives. We greatly admire his ability to depict the physical reality of these scenes, whether through the shimmer of satin, the translucency of glass, or his mastery of light. Less noticed, however, is how successfully he conveyed the inner life of his figures. This talk by Arthur Wheelock will examine this important aspect of Vermeer’s artistic genius by examining the types of moments he portrayed, and the relationships of his figures to their milieu.

Image result for arthur wheelock

Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. is Senior Advisor to The Leiden Collection. He recently retired as curator of Northern Baroque painting at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and as Professor of Art History at the University of Maryland. During his tenure at the National Gallery from 1975 to 2018, Wheelock oversaw a significant expansion of the Gallery’s collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings and organized a number of major exhibitions, including Gods, Saints & Heroes: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt (1980), Anthony van Dyck (1990), Johannes Vermeer (1995), Rembrandt’s Late Religious Portraits (2005), Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Rediscovered (2008),  Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt (2016), and Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry (2017). Wheelock has lectured widely on Dutch and Flemish art and has written many articles and books, among them Jan Vermeer (1981), Vermeer and the Art of Painting (1995), and the catalogues of the National Gallery’s Dutch (1995) and Flemish (2005) paintings. His revised and expanded Dutch catalogue, which was published online in 2014, received the George Wittenborn Book Award as the best art publication in the United States for that year.

Wheelock holds numerous awards and distinctions in his field. In 1982, at the time of the Dutch-American Bicentennial, he was named Knight Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau by the Dutch government. In 1993, he received the College Art Association award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation. In 1996 he received the Minda de Gunzburg Prize for best exhibition catalogue of the year, the Johannes Vermeer Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Dutch art, the Bicentennial Medal from Williams College, and the Dutch-American Achievement Award, presented by The Netherlands-American Amity Trust. In 2006, he was named Commander in The Order of Leopold I by the Belgian government. In 2008, the University of Maryland created a doctoral fellowship in his name. In 2015, he received The Kellogg Award for lifetime career achievement from Williams College.

*Please note that this lecture starts at 5pm and not 6:30pm as advertised in the Collection's November E-Newsletter

Main Image: Johannes VermeerA Lady Writing, c. 1665 (c) National Gallery of Art, Washington