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THE HAGUE, 1 April — Today is the last day for the next two years that you’ll be able to see The Mauritshuis collection at The Mauritshuis. First opened to the public in 1822, now 190 years later, The Mauritshuis will close for 2 years of expansion and renovation that will go underground and across the street to double the museum’s square-meterage.
Depending on how you count, Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) left us between 34 and 37 paintings, and nothing else. No endless Picasso-like paintings and prints generously strewn across every city on the globe, no Vincent van Gogh hypergraphic Dostoevsky-like detailing of the meaning of every brush stroke. No sketches. No writings. Simply three dozen of the most sublime paintings, sublime human moments, that this world has ever known. Obscenely, none of these works are today in Delft, the city where he spent his entire life, however three are nearby in The Hague at The Mauritshuis, including View of Delft, 1661 and The Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665. Another 4 are in Amsterdam, with the remainder almost exclusively in Europe or the east coast of North America.
If you are anywhere near The Hague, I urge you to make a Sunday pilgrimage to The Mauritshuis. Meet me at noon in front of the girl. Why people go to such great lengths to visit that Leonardo thing at the Louvre, I will never know. The most sublime portrait ever painted is at The Mauritshuis in The Hague. Well at least till tomorrow it is. So lets go. We can take pictures and post them on Facebook!
After The Mauritshuis closes on Sunday evening, The Girl will still be found in The Hague for a while, spending April at the Prince William V Gallery on the Buitenhof in the centre of The Hague, and May at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. Then she and 3 dozen other works will be off on a rare 2012-2013 world tour to Tokyo, Kobe, San Francisco, Atlanta, and New York City before returning to The Hague for The Maurishuis’ reopening in mid-2014.