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26 June – 8 September 2013
Featuring the Academy of Ancient Music as Resident Ensemble.
Explore paintings by Johannes Vermeer and other 17th century Dutch artists through the theme of music.
In this exhibition Vermeer’s beautiful and evocative paintings are displayed with works by his contemporaries and juxtaposed with musical instruments and songbooks from the same period.
Forming the centrepiece of the show are three magnificent paintings by Vermeer, brought together for the first time. The National Gallery’s two paintings by Vermeer, Young Woman standing at a Virginal and Young Woman seated at a Virginal join The Guitar Player, which is currently on exceptional loan from the Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood House. Vermeer’s The Music Lesson will also be on show, on loan from Her Majesty the Queen.
Music was one the most popular motifs in Dutch painting and was a daily pastime of the elite in the northern Netherlands during the 17th century. In portraits, a musical instrument or songbook might suggest the education or social position of the sitter, whereas in scenes of everyday life, it might act as a metaphor for harmony, or a symbol of transience. The exhibition will display virginals (a type of harpsichord), guitars and lutes alongside the paintings to offer a unique insight into the painters’ choice of instruments and the difference between the real instruments and the way in which the painters chose to represent them.
Complementing the exhibition, members of the Academy of Ancient Music play 17th century music in the exhibition space at intervals on Thursdays and Saturdays from 11:00, and Fridays from 15:00.
There is a limited capacity in the performance area and exhibition tickets do not guarantee access. There will be no live music on Saturday 20 July. The Academy of Ancient Music also feature on the exhibition audio guide and accompanying film.
Supported by The Hata Stichting Foundation, The Blavatnik Family Foundation, Susan and John Singer, The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Sir Vernon and Lady Ellis.