Vermeer, the Art of Painting exhibition 

Client: Kunsthistorisches Museum
Location: Vienna / Austria
Year: 2010
Supervision: Horst Campman


The exhibition focuses on a single painting. Vermeer kept “The Art of Painting” in his studio as a show-piece for potential buyers, and it is regarded as his artistic legacy. There was probably no commission for this large masterpiece, and it never left Vermeer’s studio during his lifetime. Even after his death his widow tried to avoid having to sell it, despite her pronounced financial difficulties.

For the first time, the painting was now the subject of a comprehensive technological and conservation study. Like a crime-scene analysis, the exhibition studies Vermeer’s use of pigments and binding media, and his technique. We also examine the much-discussed question of whether Vermeer used perspective drawings and/or optical instruments (e.g. a camera obscura) to construct his painting.

Loans from European and American museums and private collections, together with historical documents loaned by Dutch archives, draw a fascinating panorama for Vermeer’s masterpiece.