On February 10, 2023 the largest Vermeer exhibition ever staged opened at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Included in the show was The Leiden Collection’s Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, the only example of the master’s mature works to remain in private hands. The last time The Leiden Collection’s masterpiece was on view occurred in 2019 at Louvre Abu Dhabi for the landmark collaboration Rembrandt, Vermeer and the Dutch Golden Age: Masterpieces from the Leiden Collection and the Musée du Louvre, where it was paired with The Louvre’s The Lacemaker.
In the lead-up to the Rijksmuseum’s exhibition, advanced technical analysis was performed on Young Woman Seated at a Virginal by conservators and scientists in the museum’s conservation studios. This examination corroborated the attribution of the painting to Vermeer and conclusively demonstrated that the yellow shawl was the result of an alteration made by Vermeer himself, and not painted by a later hand.
Young Woman Seated at a Virginal will stay on view in the Rijksmuseum’s Gallery of Honour until October 10, 2023. Here, the masterpiece will hang alongside the museum’s four Vermeer paintings as well as the National Gallery of Art’s iconic Girl with a Red Hat.