Sign up

Meet Vermeer: Google launched a virtual museum of the artist's works

Now to see all of Vermeer’s works in one place everybody needs just the Google App. A new augmented reality gallery brings the Dutch master’s 36 paintings to your phone.
Vermeer’s painting was among those stolen in the infamous and still-unsolved 1990 heist of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. And the rest of Vermeer’s masterpieces are scattered across 18 collections in seven countries.

Now to see in full the works of 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, you’ll have to whip out your phone. As The New York Times reports, Google Arts and Culture has worked with the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, Netherlands to create a virtual museum, Meet Vermeer, where you can see all of the painter’s art in one visit.
Jan Vermeer’s paintings in Google Arts and Culture
It’s believed that Vermeer was a mysterious figure who lived and worked in Delft, the Netherlands. He has created about 45 paintings during a career spanning nearly two decades. Some are believed to have gone missing. Besides the 36 works that a majority of Vermeer scholars accept as authentic, other paintings have been attributed to him. Because the art world continues to debate their authorship, this virtual museum would not include them.
Jan Vermeer. The Procuress
The Procuress
1656, 143×130 cm
The Mauritshuis is home to Vermeer’s most famous painting, Girl With a Pearl Earring, but the artist’s other works are kept in museum collections around the world. The Meet Vermeer app draws on high-resolution photographs contributed by 18 different museums and private collections to create an augmented-reality exhibit of a wide span of Vermeer’s work. The list of institutions include the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Frick Collection in New York City.
The virtual museum brings together more Vermeer paintings in one place than any physical museum would possibly be able to offer. For one thing, many of the centuries-old paintings are too fragile to travel. Some of the paintings can’t be seen in person—the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum submitted an image of a painting called The Concert that was stolen from its collection in 1990. It is thought to be the most valuable unrecovered stolen painting in history, with an estimated worth of over $200 million. (Four of Vermeer’s paintings have been stolen from museums since the 1970s, but the other three have since been recovered.)
Jan Vermeer. Concert
1660, 72.5×64.7 cm
"This is one of these moments when technology does something that you can never do in real life, and that’s because these paintings could never be brought together in real life," said Emilie Gordenker, director of the Mauritshuis.

To view the 3D walkthrough of the exhibit, you’ll need to download the Google Arts and Culture app. From there, you can click on the "Meet Vermeer" exhibit and navigate to the augmented reality feature. (Click "get started" on the tab that says "The complete work in augmented reality.") From there, you’ll need to move your phone around in space a bit to get the app oriented to your position. Soon, a miniature, roofless museum will show up on your screen. You can tap to enter the museum and move around the galleries, where you’ll see Vermeer’s paintings hung on the virtual walls. Move your phone to look around and double-tap the paintings to zoom in and get more information.

Left: Four views from the Meet Vermeer augmented reality gallery

A photographer takes a high-resolution photo of "The Procuress," a painting by Vermeer. All authenticated Vermeer paintings are now viewable in a new augmented-reality app.
The entire digital exhibit involves much more than just an augmented reality walk-through. It includes features on Vermeer’s influence, the subjects he painted regularly, his Dutch hometown of Delft (also available as a digital walk-through), the palette and tools he used, examinations of Girl With a Pearl Earring, the history of Vermeer-stealing art thieves, and more.

So, download the app for Android or iOS and enjoy of looking at all of artist’s masterpieces.
Love Vermeer’s Baroque style? Learn more about Girl With a Pearl Earring here.
The free app will be accessible to anyone with a camera-equipped smartphone from 10 December 2018.
Based on materials from The NY Times

Title illustration: Meet Vermeer. via Mauritshuis/Google Arts & Culture
Artists mentioned in the article
To post comments log in or sign up.