Johannes Vermeer’s work is highly revered and he’s built up a healthy posthumous fan base over the centuries. In the contemporary world, some superfans have even embarked on a pilgrimage that involves travelling the world to visit all the museums where Vermeer’s 36 paintings reside.
For many it’s taken years to complete the round trip, but for you, you can undertake your own digital pilgrimage in a few clicks of the mouse below. Here, using Street View you can visit some of the museums and actually see Vermeer’s original works hanging on the gallery walls. Let’s get started!
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is dedicated to arts and history and displays 8,000 objects from their total of one million objects from 13th century to today. Among the collection are masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and of course Vermeer. The museum has four of Vermeer’s works: The Love Letter (1669–70), The Little Street (1657–58), Woman Reading a Letter (1663–64), and The Milkmaid (1657–58).
The Frick Collection, New York
The Frick Collection in New York, USA holds three of Vermeer’s paintings including Officer and a Laughing Girl (1655–60), Girl Interrupted at Her Music (1660–61), and Mistress and Maid (1666–67). Henry Clay Frick purchased the pictures between 1901 and 1919 and are great examples of Vermeer’s genre scenes.
Kenwood House, London
Kenwood House in London displays Vermeer’s The Guitar Player (1672). In 1974, the painting was stolen from the gallery and the frame of the painting was soon found a half a mile from Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath. Because the glass had been smashed and the frame had suffered damage to one corner, authorities feared that the painting was damaged as well. Four months later though, it was recovered by Scotland Yard in the cemetery of St Bartholomew-the-Great in London’s financial district. Although the painting showed signs of dampness, it was otherwise undamaged.
National Gallery, London
The National Gallery in London houses two of Vermeer’s paintings, A Young Woman standing at a Virginal (1670-72) and A Young Woman seated at a Virginal (1670–72). In 2013, these two paintings were brought together with the artist’s work Guitar Player, on loan from Kenwood House.
First opened in 1830, the Gemaldegalerie in Berlin, Germany holds one of the world’s leading collections of European paintings from the 13th to the 18th centuries. Its collection holds many masterpieces including two from Vermeer: The Glass of Wine (1660) and Young Woman with a Pearl Necklace (1662–64). In 2018, both of these paintings were loaned to Ueno Royal Museum Tokyo for its exhibition, Making the Difference: Vermeer and The Dutch Art.
Mauritshuis, The Hague
The Mauritshuis art museum in The Hague boasts an impressive collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings, including three Vermeer artworks. The museum owns: Diana and Her Nymphs (1653–54), View of Delft (1660–61), and the world famous Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665). This particular painting was not known before 1881, when it appeared at an auction held at the Venduehuis der Notarissen in The Hague. Art collector A.A. des Tombe bought the painting for a mere two guilders, plus the buyer’s premium of 30 cents. After des Tombe’s death on 16 December 1902, it was disclosed that he had bequeathed 12 paintings to the Mauritshuis, including the Girl with a Pearl Earring.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Of the 36 paintings of Vermeer that exist, five of these are at the The Metropolitan Museum in New York, more than any other museum. A Maid Asleep (1657), Young Woman with a Lute (1662–63), Young Woman with a Water Pitcher (1660–62), Study of a Young Woman (1665–67), and Allegory of the Catholic Faith (1670–72) are all owned by the museum and you can see them displayed together below.
Städel Museum, Frankfurt
Vermeer’s The Geographer (1668–69) is in the collection of the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. This particular painting has been closely related to another artwork by the artist called The Astronomer (1668) because of the similarities. In fact it’s thought the works are pendant paintings (where two paintings are intended as a pair and relate thematically). A study in 2017 suggested the canvas for the two works in fact came from the same batch of material.
Royal Collection Trust, London
Originally, A Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman (1670–72) entered the Royal Collection in 1762 as a work by Frans van Mieris the Elder, owing to a misreading of the signature. The correct name of Vermeer wasn’t correctly identified until 1866 by Théophile Thoré. The painting had around five previous owners before it found its current home in the Royal Collection.
Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh
Christ in the House of Martha and Mary (1654–56) currently belongs in the collection of the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is one of the largest and earliest surviving paintings by Vermeer. It is also his only known work of a biblical subject. Given the unusual size and subject matter, it’s thought that this painting was likely to be a specific commission.
Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Braunschweig
Founded in 1754, the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum in Germany is one of the oldest museums in Europe. It houses important collections of Western old masters paintings. Its strong collection of Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Rubens also gives way to some rarities, including a single painting by Vermeer. The Girl with the Wineglass (1658–60) is one of many domestic scenes the artist painted and captures life of the upper bourgeoise.