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Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: New Insights and Discoveries

Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., curator of northern baroque paintings, National Gallery of Art. Exhibitions always provide opportunities for seeing works of art with fresh eyes. Rarely, however, have the comparisons of much-beloved paintings, such as those brought together in Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry, yielded so many insights about artistic achievement and the creative process. The landmark exhibition examines the artistic exchanges among Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries from the mid-1650s to around 1680, when they reached the height of their technical ability and mastery of genre painting, or depictions of daily life. In this lecture held on January 7, 2018, Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. discusses some of these revelations and how they help explain the enduring impact of Vermeer’s paintings. Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting is on view at the National Gallery of Art through January 21, 2018.