Johannes Vermeer, 'The Music Lesson', ca 1660-1662, Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016. (PRNewsFoto/Mauritshuis)

A royal visit from Great Britain: from 29 September 2016 to 8 January 2017 the Mauritshuis in The Hague will exhibit a selection of the most important Dutch genre paintings from the British Royal Collection. The renowned Royal Collection, held in trust by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, includes highlights by famous painters such as Gerard ter Borch, Gerrit DouPieter de Hooch, Gabriël Metsu and Jan Steen. The highlight of the exhibition is ‘The Music Lesson by Johannes Vermeer.

The Royal Collection has some of the most important holdings in the world. It owns many paintings of the Dutch Golden Age, and gives pride of place to its genre paintings, scenes that appear to be taken from everyday life. The exhibition At Home in Holland: Vermeer and his Contemporaries from the British Royal Collection introduces the public to the ‘genre painting’, its many forms and the provocative symbolism it often conceals. These works are stunning in their variety, from simple farmhands gathered in an inn to elegant figures in rich interiors. Some of the everyday scenes carry a deeper, often moralistic meaning, which may be explicit or at times concealed. But in all of them, the artists portrayed the characters and their environments as skilfully as possible, which makes them even more attractive.

About the exhibition
The exhibition covers a broad selection of the best Dutch genre paintings from the Royal Collection. It includes 22 paintings from the British Royal Collection and one from the collection of the Mauritshuis, The Young Mother by Gerrit Dou. This painting was part of the British Royal Collection until about 1700, and came into Dutch ownership through King and Stadholder William III. The highlights of the exhibition are Johannes Vermeer’s ‘The Music Lesson and Jan Steen’s A Woman at her Toilet . Also featured are significant works by other grand masters of Dutch genre painting, such as Gerard ter Borch, Gerrit DouPieter de Hooch, Willem van Mieris and Gabriël Metsu.

The Royal Collection and the Mauritshuis
The British Royal Collection is one of the largest and most important collections in the world and one of the last great European royal collections to remain intact. The Royal Collection and the Mauritshuis have much in common: both are royal collections and both contain a magnificent collection of Dutch masters of the Golden Age. King George IV of England was a key figure in the history of the Royal Collection. In the early decades of the nineteenth century he acquired many of the paintings which are now seen as jewels in the crown of the English royal collection. The foundations for the Mauritshuis collection were laid by the stadholders William IV and William V. Their descendant, King William I, bequeathed the collection to the Dutch state in 1816 and the museum still bears the name Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery.

The exhibition At Home in Holland: Vermeer and his Contemporaries from the British Royal Collection is a collaboration between Royal Collection Trust and the Mauritshuis. The exhibition was held at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London, under the title Masters of the Everyday: Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer from 13 November 2015 to 14 February 2016. It has been on display at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh until 17 July 2016. From Thursday 29 September 2016, the paintings will be on view in the Mauritshuis in The Hague.

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