Vermeer’s Little Street painting, address found?

Vermeer's Little Street

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

The original location of The Little Street by Johannes Vermeer appears to be at the Vlamingstraat 40-42 in Delft. Until now it was not clear where the famous painting was created. Frans Grijzenhout, Professor of Art History at the University of Amsterdam, says the address has been found.

Grijzenhout consulted for his research records which had been kept exactly how much tax canal house owners had to pay for the deepening of the canals and the maintenance of the wharfs at their doors.

This registry gives the researchers an up to fifteen centimeter accurate picture of the breadth of all the houses and the gates at the time of Vermeer. Thus Grijzenhout discovered two houses at the narrow canal along the Vlamingstraat.

Vlamingstraat now

Much has changed with the buildings of Vlamingstraat 40-42 since the age of Vermeer, as this 2015 photo shows. Basically, only the gate is left. When Vermeer painted, mostly poor refugees from Flanders lived there. The name Vlamingstraat still reminds today about them.

Dutch seventeenth century paintings censored by British royal

A Village Fair with a Church Behind, by Isaac van Ostade, censored version

After what happened to Bronzino … after what happened to Nicolas Poussin … after what Silvio Berlusconi did to Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Prudish British monarch had Dutch painting painted over

Today, 17:51

A man crouching in a corner of the market, defecating. The British royal family did not like that and had the 1643 Dutch painting painted over. Curators from the private collection of Buckingham Palace have found out, and have restored the painting.

It involves A Village Fair with a Church Behind by Isaac van Ostade. The discovery was made in the preparations for an exhibition of masterpieces from the Dutch Golden Age.


In 1810 the painting was purchased by King George IV. But he is, according to the British curator, not responsible for the censorship of the scene. “He was a man of the world and had no problems with indecent scenes.” One of his successors who appreciated the scene less will have ordered this camouflage.

Quinten Buvelot, curator at the Mauritshuis museum, says it is not clear when the censorship was done, but is not surprised. “In the Victorian era, people were more prudish. This happened at many more times.”

Buvelot is on behalf of the Mauritshuis involved in the exhibition. He calls the find no exception. “The Dutch painters showed many details. Also a different painting from that collection was painted over.”

Jan Steen painting, uncensored version

That is a Jan Steen from 1673. On it, a man peeing was painted over. An X-ray scan discovered that detail earlier, and the work was restored.

The Dutch curator is pleased that the paintings will soon hang in their original state in the The Hague museum. “You want to show them as the artist intended.”

Starting next week, you can see the 27 paintings at Buckingham Palace in London. End of September next year, the exhibition will travel to the Netherlands. Until early 2017 the works will be in the Mauritshuis in The Hague.

Queen’s restorers discover man relieving himself in royal collection painting – but can you find him in the picture? Here. See also here.

‘James Whistler painting’ at Dutch museum a real Whistler

Symphony in White, girl in muslin dress, by James Whistler

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Singer Museum: work from depot is “absolutely a Whistler”

Today, 12:09

Painstaking research has shown that a controversial work in the Singer Museum is by the 19th century impressionist James Whistler. The work “Symphony in White, Girl in muslin dress” has been for decades in the depot of the museum in Laren because there was doubt about its authenticity.

The Singer Museum presented the unsigned painting from about 1870 as a highlight in the nineteen fifties. But twenty years later, a visiting Whistler expert said he doubted whether it was painted by the artist himself.

The work was written down to “a few thousand guilders,” said the museum director De Lorm. The painting disappeared in the depot, with the vague caption ‘environment of Whistler’.


When De Lorm took office seven years ago as director, the painting aroused his curiosity. He had it subjected to studies with the most modern techniques, and the results were compared with a signed Whistler from the Rijksmuseum.

Infrared photography showing the original sketch

From the painting under the top layer, the pigments of the paint and a list by Whistler himself investigators and the museum director could conclude that the work is “absolutely by Whistler”.

The work will be, along with the Whistler from the Rijksmuseum and other works by the painter, from next week on exhibited in Laren.

Sketch compared to finished painting

Sea also here.

Hieronymus Bosch painting back to the Netherlands after 450 years

Hieronymus Bosch, the Haywain

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Haywain‘ by Jeroen Bosch for the first time to the Netherlands

Today, 14:19

The Haywain, one of the masterpieces of Dutch painter Hieronymus (Jeroen) Bosch, is coming to the Netherlands. For the first time in 450 years, the triptych is leaving Spain, where it usually hangs in the Prado museum in Madrid.

The painting will remain in the Netherlands for half a year and will this autumn be part of the exhibition From Bosch to Bruegel – Uncovering everyday life in the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam.

500th anniversary of his death

In early January the masterpiece will move to Den Bosch, the birthplace of the painter. There will be until the beginning of May in the North Brabant Museum an exhibition with 20 paintings and 19 drawings by the artist expected, the largest retrospective to date.

The exhibition is the culmination of the National Event Hieronymus Bosch 500 years which will be celebrated in 2016 and will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of the painter.

Everyday scenes

Jeroen Bosch was actually called Hieronymus van Aken. Bosch he used as his artist’s name after the town where he was born and where he painted his masterpieces.

Around 1516 he painted the Haywain, one of the first paintings in art history in which everyday scenes are depicted.

The painting depicted a procession of people behind a hay wagon, a metaphor for materialism. The procession leads directly to hell.

Hieronymus Bosch, the Haywain, detail

In the foreground medieval scenes are depicted with drunken monks, tooth pullers, musicians and gypsies.

Hieronymus Bosch, the Haywain, detail

On the hay wagon sits a couple in love with on each side an angel and a devil.

The Spanish King Philip II bought the triptych in 1570 for his private collection and since then it has never left Spain. According to Museum Boijmans van Beuningen the work of art is in an excellent condition after it was restored some years ago.

Hendrik Willem Mesdag, new watercolour painting discovery

The newly discovered Hendrik Willem Mesdag watercolour painting

Recenly, a very small watercolour painting, five centimeter by three centimeter, was discovered in the national archive in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The newly discovered painting is by Hendrik Willem Mesdag (23 February 1831 – 10 July 1915). He made it in 1854 for his fiancee (later: his wife), Sina van Houten, also a painter.

On the back of the watercolour, Hendrik Willem wrote a poem for Sina.

The poem on the back of the newly discovered Hendrik Willem Mesdag watercolour painting

The words of the poem are (translated):

Thoughts are not subject to laws;
therefore; think of the
maker of this; as often as ye will take up this sheet.

Gron[ingen], July 1854

H W Mesdag

Hendrik Willem Mesdag and Sina van Houten are most famous for painting the very big Panorama Mesdag. So, this very small work is a bit of a surprise.

Saiga antelope and art in Kazakhstan

Drawing attention to the plight of the saiga through local engagement in community art. Photo: Rory McCann

From BirdLife:

Drawing attention to the plight of the Saiga through school mural painting

By Rory McCann, Mon, 15/06/2015 – 12:40

I am here in Kazakhstan to paint a mural depicting the wildlife of the steppe environment, with a particular focus on the Saiga antelope – a comical-looking yet critically endangered species which originally inhabited a vast area of the Eurasian steppe zone. The Saiga population in Kazakhstan has recently suffered severe losses due to a disease outbreak.

On my second day I meet staff of the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK, BirdLife Partner in Kazakhstan), who tell me one of the main issues for Saiga antelope is that they are being poached, especially by individuals in the remote villages of central Kazakhstan.

Our mural will be made in one of these villages, with the aim of boosting the plight of the Saiga. The mural painting team are Zhanna Aksartova – ACBK’s Conservation Education Coordinator, Ekaterina Aksartova – Zhanna’s sister and ecology student, and myself – Rory McCann – a wildlife artist with a background in conservation.

We travel across Kazahkstan to the village where we will paint the mural.  Its location is the village school, a mighty-looking building built by the government 3 years ago. We hope to have the help of the schoolchildren.

We are shown around the school by the school director and the village leader. I am touched and tickled to be given many business-like handshakes by children as young as three years old!

It’s exciting to introduce ourselves and explain our reasons for being there. We talk about the values of preserving native biodiversity and we launch a drawing competition for the students.

We have eight days to paint the mural!

The first brush strokes are always the hardest, but the fear of ruining a perfectly good wall quickly subsides and mural-painting fever takes over!

The days go by and our mural starts to take shape and so does a growing following of budding young artists. By the third day, I can barely move for all the students who are packed around me producing their own drawings based on the mural painting.

Zhanna and Ekaterina chat to the children and get them involved in activities such as making masks and singing songs about the Saiga. The children seem enthralled by the process – exactly the response we were hoping for!

We run a workshop with the younger competition winners – a series of mini drawing challenges, a master class in drawing eyes, and making Saiga gift cards. The competition winners can paint an animal on the mural.

The final day arrives. We must have the mural finished by 5pm in time for the grand opening. The mural has been sectioned off with curtains across the entrance so that our big unveiling can have maximum dramatic impact!  At 4:45 pm, the brushes are put down for the last time, with a big sigh of relief.

At 5pm, we emerge from behind the curtains to a waiting crowd of students, staff and other villagers. A few minutes of prize–giving, tributes and words of thanks, the curtains are pulled back to reveal the finished mural. More than 25 steppe animals and birds are represented on the mural painting.

The hope is that this project can pave the way for ACBK to conduct further outreach and educational projects in this region with a view to improving the status of the Saiga antelope and other species in the surrounding environment.

The enthusiasm and friendliness of the students has really made this experience a rewarding one for me.

The Mural Project was instigated by the Saiga Conservation Alliance, with funding generously given by Zynga via the Wildlife Conservation Network.

Rory McCann worked for two years at BirdLife’s Global Secretariat office in Cambridge.

Nearly 140, 000 of the critically endangered saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica), which lives in the Central Asian steppe, have died suddenly in Kazakhstan, almost half the global population, over a two week period: here.