Vermeer opening


In February 1998 I began researching the novel Girl with a Pearl Earring. Little did I know that 25 years later I would still be talking about that painting and that painter. Indeed, I seem to have become something of a Vermeer ambassador.

This became apparent last week when I visited the new Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam during Press Day. I was reviewing it for BBC Radio and for The Art Newspaper, but I ended up getting interviewed about All Things Vermeer: his enduring qualities, his appeal, and how much my novel played a part in boosting interest in him.That last question was hard to answer without sounding either immodest or too modest!

I was thrilled to be there and feel for myself what it's like to be among 28 of Vermeer's 37 known works. The curators have done a wonderful job presenting them in a very Vermeer manner, on soberly painted walls with plenty of space around each. The paintings positively glow from the walls, and because there are so few, it's easy to spend a lot of time with each, and to walk back and forth between them, comparing and contrasting. They retain their mysterious power, and it is in fact enhanced by being amongst their own. I was entranced, moved beyond tears. Without being hyperbolic, it was up there as one of the top art experiences of my life. I urge you to go if you can - though as I write it is already 3/4 sold out. Here at least is a little taste of the show made by the Museum and narrated by Stephen Fry:

Stephen Fry on Rijksmuseum Vermeer show

 And here are some photos:

 Vermeer 1

Vermeer 2

Vermeer 3

Vermeer 4


Finally, a photo Associated Press photographer Peter Dejong couldn't resist taking of me (watermarked so it can't be used beyond here):

TC by AP

© AP Photo/Peter Dejong

I'm particularly pleased that my earrings match her scarf!