Girl with a Flute by Vermeer© National Gallery of Art

This Iconic Painting By Vermeer May Not Actually Be His Work

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

A new discovery by a team of researchers has revealed something that has, not to be dramatic but, shaken the art world to the core.

One of the most iconic works by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer might not actually be his! Researchers believe that the painting in question, ‘Girl with a Flute’, was made by one of his associates or an assistant.

A team of curators, conservators, and scientists at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC are presenting an exhibition titled Vermeer’s Secrets, where they would present Vermeer’s works like never before. According to a press release, the past two years and the museum’s closure due to COVID gave the team ample amount of time to pour over Vermeer’s work carefully, leading them to this discovery.

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The artist is most known for his ability to capture the mundane domesticity of mid-17th-century Dutch households in a way that rendered them magical. One of his most famous works is ‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring’, which is often known as the Dutch Mona Lisa.

After a microscopic analysis of his works, and comparing ‘Girl with a Flute’ with his other works of the same era using advanced imaging techniques, the researchers discovered that the aforementioned painting lacked Vermeer’s signature precision and paint application.

“The existence of other artists working with Johannes Vermeer is perhaps one of the most significant new findings about the artist to be discovered in decades. It fundamentally changes our understanding of Vermeer,” said Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery of Art, in a press conference, “I am incredibly proud of the interdisciplinary team of National Gallery staff who worked together to study these paintings, building on decades of research and using advanced scientific technology to uncover exciting discoveries that add new insight to what we know about the enigmatic artist.”

The findings of the research team and a deep dive into Vermeer’s working style is on display at the Gallery till January 8, 2023.