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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Vermeer: On Reflection

Old Masters Picture Gallery / Dresden / Art

For over 250 years, Vermeer’s Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (circa 1659) has resided quietly at the Dresden Gemäldegalerie, where it attracts viewers from all over the world. A solitary young woman reads intently in front of an open window, an ochre wall rising behind her. It turns out, however, that the painting has been keeping a secret. Previous X-ray examinations discovered a concealed depiction of Cupid on that ochre wall. But was it painted over by Vermeer, or later on by someone else? With new laboratory testing, experts determined that the paint-over was not done by Vermeer. The work has now been restored to its original state, and this exhibition unveils the new “painting within a painting.” The presence of Cupid, of course, allows us to “read” the painting—the letter!—more pointedly. Other works by the Dutch master are also on view. —E.C.

Old Masters Picture Gallery Theaterplatz 1, 01067 Dresden, Germany
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