Home / Funny / Viral / Restoration Of Vermeer Painting Reveals Hidden Cupid Portrait


Artist Johannes Vermeer is a fascinating figure. The Dutch painter, who was only moderately successful in his day, passed away with a debt and a small collection of paintings. In actuality, he is currently only credited with 34 paintings, among them the well-known Girl with the Pearl Earring. But following the 1800s, Vermeer's fame grew, and these days, any news of one creates a stir. And that's precisely what happened when news of a recent restoration of a Vermeer broke.

The outcomes of a significant restoration to the Vermeer in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden in Germany have been made public after two and a half years. Painted between 1657 and 1659, Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window has been in the museum's collection since 1742. The painting was first mistakenly credited to other artists, as is common with Vermeer's creations. However, Théophile Thoré-Bürger, a French art critic, discovered the painting in 1880 and correctly identified it as a work by the Dutch Master.

The oil painting depicts a young lady reading a letter next to an open window while wearing elegant black and yellow clothing. Although the wall behind her was initially empty, an X-ray taken in 1979 revealed that something was there. 

There was actually a "painting" of a nude Cupid underneath the bare wall. Since it was customary for artists to cover up their creations, academics first assumed that Vermeer had just changed his mind and chosen to leave the wall unpainted.

A 2017 research project, however, disproved those assertions. Researchers were able to determine that the overpainting was finished several decades after the canvas was finished, thanks to advances in technology. Art historians realised they were not seeing Vermeer's true creative vision, which completely revolutionised the work. Therefore, in 2018, museum restoration specialists started meticulously removing the overpainting.

Early in 2021, when the project was finished, art historians might develop a fresh appreciation for the painting. According to Old Masters Picture Gallery director Stephan Koja, "the actual intention of the Delft painter becomes recognisable with the recovery of Cupid in the background." "It is about a fundamental statement about the nature of true love, beyond the seemingly romantic context. Therefore, what we previously examined was very basic. We now recognise it as a pivotal picture from his body of work. As Koja notes, Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window actually marks the start of a sequence of paintings by Vermeer depicting a woman in a contemplative, silent moment.

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