The New Vermeer

Lost works by master painter brought back to life

Abbie Vandivere Dionne Stax En Pieter Roelofs Foto Stef Nagel MAX 1200 (1)

20 March - 4 June 2023

Calling all art fanatics and Vermeer fans: in the TV show ‘The New Vermeer’ professional artists in the free category breathe new life into ‘lost’ Vermeer paintings, which have disappeared without a trace over the course of the centuries. And of course, when it comes to Vermeer, thoughts automatically turn to the Mauritshuis.

In the series, the painters receive guidance from our very own conservator and Vermeer expert Abbie Vandivere. When Abbie was invited to take part in the programme – along with Pieter Roelofs, head of paintings and sculpture at the Rijksmuseum – she was immediately keen. The show provides an excellent way to make technical research accessible to the general public.

The six winning artworks by the master painters will be shown in the foyer of the Mauritshuis – which is accessible free of charge – from 20 March to 4 June. The six winning artworks in the free category will be shown in Museum Prinsenhof Delft. 


17th-century techniques brought to life

The painters taking part in The New Vermeer have been challenged to work in the style of the famous painter. First, they will attend a number of lessons and masterclasses to help them on their way. They will also visit the conservation studio at the Mauritshuis, where conservator Abbie Vandivere will be their host.

At the Mauritshuis the contestants will learn more about the techniques used by 17th-century painters, including how to stretch a canvas and apply a primer, and about their use of colour. Abbie will also examine the candidates’ work using equipment she normally uses to look at the Girl with a Pearl Earring.


3D Meisje Met De Parel Onderzoek Abbie Looking Through Microscope
Abbie Vandivere researches Girl with a Pearl Earring

Lost paintings

Vermeer’s lost paintings are: a second ‘Little Street’, a self-portrait, two history paintings (Venus Complains to Jupiter about Psyche and The Three Marys at Christ’s Tomb), ‘A Distinguished Gentleman Washing His Hands in an Adjoining Room’ and 'The Concert', which was stolen from an American museum in 1990.

Of all the ‘lost’ Vermeers, Abbie is most looking forward to the competitors’ interpretations of the artist’s self-portrait. ‘We know of only one painting which is believed to depict Vermeer himself,’ she says. ‘It will be a big challenge. The lost painting has been described as a “self-portrait with equipment”, so I’m intrigued to see what objects they include.’

Johannes Vermeer Het Melkmeisje Rijksmuseum
The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer