A Vermeer restoration reveals a god of desire

A Vermeer restoration reveals a god of desire

After nearly three centuries behind a layer of paint, a naked Cupid has surfaced in one of the world’s best-loved artworks, drastically altering the background of a quiet interior scene. The plump, golden-locked god in Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window,” was revealed in a restoration project that Stephan Koja, director of the Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden, Germany, described as “a detective story and an adventure.” The painting is the focus of an exhibition at the gallery, opened Thursday by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, and running through Jan. 2. It is one of just 35 works definitively attributed to Vermeer: The Dresden show, called “Johannes Vermeer: On Reflection,” unites 10 of them alongside works by contemporaries from whom Vermeer learned, including Pieter de Hooch and Gerard ter Borch. Ever since an X-ray of “Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Wi
After nearly three centuries behind a layer of paint, a naked Cupid has surfaced in one of the world’s best-loved artworks, drastically altering the background of a quiet interior scene. The plump, golden-locked god in Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window,” was revealed in a restoration project that Stephan Koja, director of the Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden, Germany, described as “a detective story and an adventure.” The painting is the focus of an exhibition at the gallery, opened Thursday by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, and running through Jan. 2. It is one of just 35 works definitively attributed to Vermeer: The Dresden show, called “Johannes Vermeer: On Reflection,” unites 10 of them alongside works by contemporaries from whom Vermeer learned, including Pieter de Hooch and Gerard ter Borch. Ever since an X-ray of “Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Wi