Chasing Vermeer: Why are crowds fascinated by the 350-year-old works of a Dutch painter? A new exhibit sheds light on the subject

In its first week at the Louvre, “Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry” was such a hit that 9,400 people were herded through its galleries. The crowds were so large the Louvre had to issue timed passes for the first time ever. Why all the hoopla?

Not the hottest artist during the Dutch Golden Age, Johannes Vermeer now gets top billing everywhere in the art world, thanks to his luminescent paintings and mysterious life (few records exist). This combo has produced multiple novels about him, as well as the 2004 movie “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth.

Mary Eloise H. Leake
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