The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, located at a unique 17th-century palace in The Hague, has the highest number of masterpieces per square meter in the Netherlands. The museum houses a world-famous collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. This exceptional collection offers an amazing overview of Dutch and Flemish paintings from 1400 to 1800, with works by painters such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, Rubens, Jan Steen, Frans Hals, Van Dyck and Adriaen Coorte.
The collection consists of about 800 paintings, 50 miniatures, 20 sculptures and various drawings and prints. Some of these paintings were once in the possession of Prince Willem V of Orange-Nassau.
Of the thirty Vermeers known to exist the Mauritshuis has three in its collection: the world famous and widely reproduced Girl with a Pearl Earring, The View of Delft and Diana with the Nymphs. Among the 16 Rembrandts, there are outstanding works such as the Lesson in Anatomy of Dr. Tulp, David and Saul, The Two Negroes and three masterful self-portraits. There are also thirteen paintings by Jan Steen, which depict Dutch daily life in the 17th century, as well as the famous painting The Young Bull by Paulus Potter.
The Mauritshuis dates back to the 17th century. Johan Maurits built this house in one of the most fashionable neighbourhoods of The Hague, right next to the Binnenhof, the place where the Dutch parliament meets. One of the features that makes this location so beautiful is the famous pond, the Hofvijver.
The Mauritshuis is one of the most beautiful examples of Dutch classicist architecture and was designed by Dutch architects Jacob van Campen and Pieter Post between 1633 and 1644. Van Campen also designed the Royal Palace and the Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam.
New research into Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Mauritshuis will use the latest technologies to examine the painting in public for two weeks. On Monday 26 February 2018, the Mauritshuis launches The Girl in the Spotlight: an in-depth scientific examination of the Girl with a Pearl Earring (c. 1665) by Johannes Vermeer. The museum’s most famous painting was last examined in 1994, during a conservation treatment. Although further restoration is not yet required, major advances in non-invasive technical analysis have been made over the last 25 years. The Mauritshuis hopes to learn more about how Vermeer painted the Girl with a Pearl Earring, as well as the materials that he used. The research will be conducted in public at the Mauritshuis.
Specially equipped workshop
In order to make the research into the Girl with a Pearl Earring visible to visitors, the Mauritshuis has constructed a studio with a glass enclosure in the museum’s ‘Golden Room’. The painting will be examined 24 hours a day from Monday 26 February to Sunday 11 March 2018. As part of a multimedia presentation, Mauritshuis paintings conservator and head researcher Abbie Vandivere will explain what is taking place inside the workshop using videos and daily updates.
The Girl with a Pearl Earring is a seventeenth-century painting that sparks the imagination. Her enigmatic gaze, Vermeer’s use of colour, and the outstanding play of light in this work captivate everyone who sees it. Researchers are also fascinated by the painting, and have a number of unanswered questions about how Vermeer painted this iconic work of art and which materials he used. The project The Girl in the Spotlight aims to come closer to resolving these issues using the latest technologies to investigate the canvas, pigments, oil and other materials that Vermeer used to create his renowned painting.
The research project The Girl in the Spotlight is a Mauritshuis initiative, and involves a team of internationally recognised specialists associated with the Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science (NICAS). The NICAS partners are Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, TU Delft, and Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE). Other institutions involved include: Shell Technology Centre Amsterdam (STCA), Maastricht University, University of Antwerp, the National Gallery of Art Washington and Hirox Europe. Head researcher Abbie Vandivere: ‘It’s an honour to collaborate with such a team of experts, and to have access to the state-of-the-art equipment that they will bring to the Mauritshuis. For two weeks, the museum will house one of the most advanced research centres in the world.’ Some of the technologies that the project will harness are: MA-XRF scanning, optical coherence tomography and digital microscopy. After the two-week research period, the Girl with a Pearl Earring will be one of the best documented works of art in the world.
Closer than ever
For visitors, the project The Girl in the Spotlight will be a unique opportunity to witness the scientific examination of a world-famous painting. The painting may be difficult to view at some point during these two weeks, but a high-tech 3D reproduction of the painting will be on display so that visitors can take photos. Public lectures about the project will take place at 11:00 (in English) and at 14:00 (in Dutch) on Saturday 10 March. Beginning on Monday 12 March, the Girl with a Pearl Earring will be back on display in the usual location in Room 15. The research team will then continue its work by analysing the data. Final results will only be available after this analysis has taken place.
The renovated Mauritshuis
Between 2012 and 2014 the museum has been restored and expanded to meet the requirements and expectations of the 21st-century visitor. The surface area of the museum doubled, creating more space for art, exhibitions, education and events. The development included the complete renovation of the seventeen-century historic palace which forms the Mauritshuis' main building taking it back to its architect, Jacob van Campen's original design. Another important feature was the creation of a new underground foyer and entrance area which connects the historic building to the newly created Royal Dutch Shell Wing directly opposite, which houses state-of-the art exhibition and education facilities.
Opening times Mauritshuis
The Mauritshuis is open every day. On Mondays the museum opens at 13:00 instead of 10:00, and on Thursdays it is open in the evening until 20:00. Tip for those who wish to avoid the busiest time: the Mauritshuis is relatively quiet in the afternoons after 15:00 and on Thursday evenings.
Directions to the Mauritshuis
The Mauritshuis is located in the centre of The Hague and can easily be reached both by public transport and car. From Den Haag Centraal railway station it takes 10 minutes to walk to het Plein. Alternatively, trams 16 or 17 are one or two stops away. The Mauritshuis is easiest to reach by tram from Station Den Haag Hollands Spoor railway station: trams 1 and 9 (direction Scheveningen) and tram 16 stop within a few minutes' walk from the museum.
When travelling by car from the A4 (Amsterdam or Rotterdam) the A12 (Utrecht) or the N44 (Leiden), follow the signs for the City Centre and then the signs for het Mauritshuis. The most convenient place to park is in the Pleingarage next to the Mauritshuis or in Interparking Museumkwartier. You can also park in the Malieveld and Den Haag Centraal New Babylon parking garages. Both garages are about a 10-minute walk from het Mauritshuis.
The Mauritshuis museum in The Hague is a unique opportunity to see classic paintings from the Dutch Golden Age at one of Holland's most beautiful locations!