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Jacobus Vrel. Enigmatique précurseur de Vermeer

Jacobus Vrel. Enigmatique précurseur de Vermeer : Jacobus Vrel, Woman Leaning out of an Open Window, 1654. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Gemalde galerie, Vienna   

The exhibition

By buying four views of anonymous alleys, which he attributed to Vermeer - and which Théophile Gautier judged as "marvels" - Thoré-Bürger rediscovered Jacobus Vrel without knowing it. In 1935, Clotilde Brière-Misme published the first study devoted to this unknown master, who pushed "Holland's love of peaceful intimacy to its extreme point". Followed in 1968 by the young Jean Clair, who distinguishes in this Vermeer of the poor "a gravity of meditation, which ends up transforming the fleeting and insignificant moment into an interior world of timeless rapture. In addition to his narrow street scenes - in which the city of Zwolle was thought to be visible - the parsimonious Vrel painted atmospheric interior scenes from the 1650s, which form the largest part of his oeuvre with 27 identified paintings. Before De Hooch and Vermeer, Vrel created bare, intimate spaces, often nocturnal, where darkly dressed figures in lost profile, from behind or from three-quarter view, look into the distance, in perspectives closed on a fireplace or a black window.

Emmanuel Daydé


17/06/2023 - 17/09/2023