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Vermeer's 'Young Woman Standing at a Virginal':

A High Note by the Dutch Master of Harmony

Curator Bart Cornelis explores 'Young Woman Standing at a Virginal' by Vermeer, in 10 minutes.

  • 10-minute film
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Experience the National Gallery's collection like never before with our new exclusive 'National Treasures' film series. A key strand of the National Gallery's Bicentenary celebrations, we will discover 12 paintings which will be loaned from the Gallery's collection to partner venues throughout the UK, providing expert commentary on these iconic masterpieces. In the seventh instalment of the series, we take a close look at Vermeer's 'Young Woman Standing at a Virginal' (about 1670–2).

Join curator Bart Cornelis to explore the themes of love and harmony in this picture. He describes the context of Vermeer's small oeuvre, many of which capture musical activities inside, as well as another of his paintings in the National Gallery collection which is probably this painting's pendant pair. Bart describes the artist's technique, particularly the use of light and distribution of forms across the composition. Vermeer radically stage managed the scene without fully documenting every object.


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Bart Cornelis

Bart Cornelis has been the curator of Dutch and Flemish Paintings at the National Gallery since 2017. Before that, he was Deputy Editor of 'The Burlington Magazine', and before moving to the UK from the Netherlands, he was Assistant Curator at the Rijksmuseum. He is the curator of 'The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Frans Hals' and has previously curated 'Nicolaes Maes: Dutch Master of the Golden Age' (The National Gallery, 2020) and 'Adriaen van de Velde: Dutch Master of Landscape' (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam and Dulwich Picture Gallery, London 2016–17).

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