The painting, ‘The Little Street’ (or ‘Het Straatje’) by Johannes Vermeer is one of the Rijksmuseum’s top pieces and is rarely loaned out to other museums. Due to an extraordinary cooperation between the Prinsenhof Museum in Delft and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, this masterpiece can now be seen at the Prinsenhof until July 17th 2016. After almost 350 years, this world famous painting has now returned to where Vermeer actually painted it around the year 1660!
This painting is remarkable for it’s time. It is a portrait of ordinary houses, but the composition is as exciting as it is balanced. The old walls with their bricks, whitewash, and cracks – possibly due to the explosion of 1654 – are almost tangible. Vermeer’s aunt lived in the house on the right, together with her children and grandchildren for almost thirty years until her death in 1670.
The Prinsenhof Museum in Delft highlights the painting beautifully, by combining it with the other top pieces from the Vermeer collection…
Other famous Vermeer masterpieces such as The Girl with a Pearl Earring and A View of Delft can be seen at the Mauritshuis Museum in Den Haag. I was happy to see a copy of my favourite Vermeer painting at a Bed & Breakfast I stayed at recently, but I do hope to visit the elegant Mauritshuis to see the real deal in the near future.
Some 35 works by Johannes Vermeer have survived worldwide, yet Delft, the city where the painter lived and worked his entire life, does not own any of his works. It has been at least 60 years since a Vermeer piece was last exhibited in Delft.
At the Prinsenhof museum in Delft, you will also learn all about Willem van Oranje and the Spanish invasions in the Netherlands. You may even see the bullet holes, still visible in the wall, where Willem van Orange was allegedly murdered.
This little museum is charming and definitely worth a visit, particularly while the Vermeer exhibition is still on display. Designate a few hours to visit the Prinsenhof and learn about the rich history and devastating wars, which inevitably enabled us to now live peacefully in this country we now call home.