Gone girl: top Vermeer painting will go home after just eight weeks

The Mauritshuis said it out loud but the Rijkmuseum only whispered it: the 28 paintings by Vermeer will only be 27 when what has been touted as one of the ‘top attractions’ goes back to The Hague on March 30.

The Mauritshuis wants its Girl with the Pearl Earring back ahead of the Easter break to boost its own visitor numbers and that means (foreign) visitors who had had their heart set on an encounter with the Girl will be disappointed.

It was always going to be eight weeks, director of the Mauritshuis Martine Gosselink said. ‘We have said that from the start and the Rijksmuseum knew as well.’ she told the Volkskrant.

The early departure of the painting coincides with the start of the tourist season. Not having the Girl in the collection would mean disappointing a lot of people and also a big financial loss, Gosselink said.

‘We think it’s important she’s at the Rijks now but that is a very rare exception for a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition. (…). The Rijks wouldn’t part with the Nightwatch or the Louvre the Mona Lisa,’ she told the paper.

Rijksmuseum spokeswoman Elles Kamphuis told the VK the Rijksmuseum was aware the painting’s stay would be temporary but said the museum did not immediately know how long that would be.

There was ‘nothing sinister’ about this not being on the museum website earlier but that has now been rectified on the ticket site, she said. The ticket site was down on Thursday due to the ‘enormous interest’ in the show.

On April 1 the painting will be replaced by a curtain. For people who suspect an April fool, it is not.

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