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Ongoing events or exhibitions

Wednesday 5th October

Vermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

A new exhibition on the 17th-century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer will explore the mysterious appeal of the women in his paintings. Vermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence features 28 works by master painters of the Dutch Golden Age and four iconic works by Vermeer, including The Lacemaker from the Musée du Louvre in Paris, on show in the UK for the first time.

Women are one of the key subjects in Vermeer's works: whether gazing out wistfully at the viewer, or focusing on an activity with an almost eerie calm, they possess a powerful allure. This exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum is the first to focus on Vermeer's domestic interiors and, by examining them in the context of paintings by other Dutch Golden Age masters, explores the enigma of these women who seem crystallised in a moment in time.

The vivid realism of these paintings provides a remarkable window into the private world of women in the 17th-century Dutch Republic. These scenes about the home seem hauntingly familiar even today: from the meditative calm of needlework, playing music, reading or simply daydreaming to such mundane domestic activities as cooking, shopping, washing and dressing, minding children, gossiping and eavesdropping. Often framed with a painted window or doorway, the viewer has the impression of having stumbled upon a private moment hidden behind closed doors.

Revealing the Dutch Golden Age ideals of the home, feminine beauty and domesticity, the exhibition also explores how artists subtly altered and augmented reality to enhance the magnetic appeal and symbolic import of these painted worlds.

Vermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence features works from museums and collections around the world, including the National Gallery, London; The Royal Collection; the Musée du Louvre; the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the Mauritshuis, The Hague; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

For more information, please visit the Fitzwilliam Museum website or our Facebook page.