Of the thirty four (or so, depending on questions of attribution) known paintings by the remarkable Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, three are currently in London’s National Gallery.
The third, The Guitar Player is on extended loan from Kenwood House.
The latter is, I think, extraordinary, even for Vermeer, and is unusual in its composition, with light coming from a window at right, rather than left as was Vermeer’s custom, and an oddly off center composition. I was also struck, as I sometimes am when looking at Vermeer’s work in person or in high resolution, as how painterly some of the details are (images above, top with three detail crops)
All three paintings deal with music, a popular subject in Dutch painting of the era, and the national Gallery has made them the centerpiece of an exhibition titled Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure, supplemented with other related paintings as well as physical examples of period instruments and scheduled live performances.
The links I’ve given above are to the versions on the National Gallery site that can be zoomed fullscreen (use controls to the right of the images).
The color of the two in the NGA permanent collection seem a bit dark in reproduction on the website, but I don’t have the luxury of crossing the Atlantic to make the comparison. You may want to supplement your browsing with a visit to my favorite site for all things Vermeer, Jonathan Jansen’s Essential Vermeer, when you can find a complete catalog of Vermeer’s paintings.
The exhibition runs from 26 June to 8 September 2013.