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Vermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence

5 October 2011 - 12 January 2012

Free admission

Explore the beauty of Vermeer’s exquisite paintings evoking the private and secretive world of women in the Dutch Golden Age.

Showing intimate scenes about the home from daily life to craftmaking, playing music, reading or writing letters, this stunning exhibition features works from the UK, Europe and the USA, many of which have never been on public display in Britain.

This will be the only chance to see these masterworks brought together in one exhibition.


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Works by Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer is arguably the most famous painter of the Dutch Golden Age.  His paintings are also incredibly rare with only 37 works thought to have survived.

This exhibition brings together four remarkable works by Vermeer, together with 28 other masterpieces by Dutch 17th century painters such as Gerard ter Borch, Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Nicolaes Maes and Jan Steen.

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The Lacemaker c.1669-1670
Musée du Louvre, Paris © Réunion des Musées Nationaux/ Gérard Blot

A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal c. 1670-1672
Salting Bequest, 1910 © National Gallery, London

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Young Woman Seated at a Virginal c.1670-1672
© Private Collection, New York

A Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman ‘'The Music Lesson' c.1662-1665
The Royal Collection © 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Vermeer's Women events:

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Quiringh van Brekelenkam, Confidential Conversation (detail) © Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


Telling Secrets: Vermeer’s Women and their world

Fri 14 October | 13.15 - 13.45

Love for sale in the 17th century: Secrets of the oldest profession

Fri 28 October | 13.15 - 13.45

The rediscovery of Vermeer and the reception of genre painting

Fri 18 November | 13.15 - 13.45

Special events:

Late Opening

Thur 24 November | 19.00 – 20.30

See Vermeer’s Women after hours with entertainment in the Museum Courtyard.


Sponsored by Domino

Film event at Cambridge Arts Picturehouse

Tue 6 December | 18.00 (time tbc)

See films by young filmmakers inspired by Vermeer’s Women. Followed by a screening of The Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Book one week before event, tel. 0871 902 5720 or visit

A Cambridgeshire Film Consortium event in association with the Fitzwilliam Museum.

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Pieter de Hooch, The Courtyard of a House in Delft c.1658 © National Gallery, London

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Gerard ter Borch, Young Woman with a Glass of Wine, Holding a Letter in her Hand (detail)c.1665
Sinebrychoff Art Museum © Finnish National Gallery/Central Art Archives/Henri Tuomi & Hannu Pakarinen


Drawing on Vermeer’s perspective

Tue 1 November | 10.00 – 16.00

A drawing workshop inspired by the art of Vermeer led by artist Issam Kourbaj.
£40 (£35 concessions)

Also available for ages 14+ on Sat 12 November
11.00 – 13.00 or 14.00 – 16.00



Major support for this exhibition provided by:

The Monument Trust

Additional support from:

Hewitsons • Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands • The Marlay Group • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP • RealVNC • Recanati-Kaplan Foundation • Sarisin & Partners • TTP Group

To book an event contact:

Tel: 01223 332904, Email:

Keep in touch ...

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Further image credits - Banner: The Lacemaker c.1669-1670 (detail) Musée du Louvre, Paris © Réunion des Musées Nationaux/ Gérard Blot.  First paragraph: A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal c. 1670-1672 (detail) Salting Bequest, 1910 © National Gallery, London

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