An Amsterdam art history professor claims to have discovered the location of one of only two townscapes by Dutch 17th century artist Vermeer, the Rijksmuseum said on Thursday.
Professor Frans Grijzenhout consulted 17th century records to locate the narrow alley in the painting known as The Little Street. The exact location, Grijzenhout says, is between numbers 40 and 42 in the Vlamingstraat in Delft and can still be seen today.
The professor used detailed records kept by Delft city council about how much tax everyone in the town had to pay towards dredging canals and maintaining the quayside by their property. The records contain accurate details about the size and frontage of all canal side properties and the spaces between them.
‘The answer to the question as to the location of Vermeer’s The Little Street is of great significance for the way we look at this painting and for our image of Vermeer as an artist,’ said the Rijksmuseum’s 17th century art curator
The investigation also found the house on the right in the painting belonged to Vermeer’s widowed aunt, Ariaentgen Claes van der Minne. Vermeer’s mother and sister also lived diagonally opposite on the same canal.
The discovery of the street’s location is the subject of a special exhibition at the Amsterdam museum which runs until March 13.
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