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Travel: Visit the largest exhibition of Vermeer paintings at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum

An exhibition of 28 of Vermeer's paintings, including the famous Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Milkmaid will open on Friday

Girl with a Pearl Earring on display at the Vermeer exhibit at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum. (AP)

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The Netherlands' national museum is hosting a blockbuster exhibition of art by the 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. On Friday, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will open an exhibition of 28 of Vermeer's paintings from seven countries. This is probably one of the single largest shows of his work as only 37 paintings are ascribed to the artist who lived from 1632 to 1675 in Delft in western Netherlands.

Seven of the paintings haven't been in the Netherlands in more than two centuries, reports AP. The Rijksmuseum general director Taco Dibbits told AP that the exhibition provides a chance for visitors to immerse themselves in the exquisite interior scenes for which Vermeer is best known. Among the paintings on display will be the famous ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ and ‘The Milkmaid’ as well as religious paintings that he did in the early years of his career and two cityscapes of his home town of Delft.

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Vermeer is best known for his use of light and his realistic and meticulous composition. “Vermeer has this quality of kind of everything is perfect. Everything falls in place," Dibbits told AP. "There’s perfect happiness in his scenes. There’s tranquility, there’s intimacy.”

Very little is known about the life or inspiration of Vermeer, who did not leave behind letters or diaries. There are no portraits of him, but research is now being conducted to learn more about his life and work. 

In preparation for the exhibition, the museum has been taking an extremely close look at its own Vermeer paintings, which include ‘The Milkmaid’, reports AP. The other famous Vermeer ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ has been loaned by the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, while ‘Officer and Laughing Girl’, ‘Mistress and Maid’ and ‘Girl Interrupted at her Music’ have been sent by the Frick Collection in the US. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Leiden Collection in New York and the National Gallery of Art in Washington have also sent paintings. The 28 paintings come from 14 museums and private collections in seven countries.

The show in Amsterdam runs till 4 June, and for art lovers who cannot travel, there is a digital show on the Rijksmuseum website.

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