The Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window by Johannes Vermeer is one of the most famous works of seventeenth-century Dutch art. Preserved at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, the painting has been restored, in an elaborate process lasting from 2017 to 2021.
The removal of a large section of overpainting dating from a later period has profoundly altered the work’s appearance and revealed the original composition. To showcase the discovery, the Dresden Gemäldegalerie is now presenting the Girl Reading a Letter along with other masterpieces by Vermeer and a selection of exceptional Dutch genre paintings that reveal parallels and reciprocities between the art of Vermeer and that of his peers.
This catalogue brings together texts by renowned scholars as they explore not only the restoration of this pivotal work but also fundamental questions on the visual vernacular and essence of Vermeer’s painting, his optical realism, his iconography of love, and the lived realities of women in the Dutch Golden Age.