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Travel with The Met

Travel with The Met connects the Museum's wide and diverse audience to art, inspiration, and historical perspective. Our trips offer travelers the unique opportunity to see the world and humanity's highest artistic achievements with the guidance of The Met's renowned curators and educators. Itineraries focus on educational, enriching activities that will allow you to experience firsthand how art can bridge history and the present day to reveal our shared cultural heritage.

Trips are offered year-round to a variety of exciting destinations. More than just a vacation, a Travel with The Met international exploration combines curatorial expertise and behind-the-scenes viewing arrangements with spectacular itineraries and interesting companionship. The following list is updated regularly to include new itineraries as soon as they become available.

Set Sail with The Met!

Travel with The Met invites you to join our art-filled cultural cruises on one of our distinctive, privately chartered small ships and boutique riverboats. This summer, sail Homer’s “wine-dark sea” on our spectacular Aegean adventure into antiquity, cruising from Athens to Istanbul aboard the elegant Sea Cloud II . Travel with Met lecturer Frank Dabell , an acclaimed art historian whose passion and depth of knowledge about Greek and Roman art and architecture will inspire you.  In October, experience a unique journey by land and sea in the enchanting gem of Mediterranean Spain: Catalonia, the autonomous region with its own unique cultural identity, language, and ancient heritage. Join highly regarded museum educator Rika Burnham sharing her insights on historic Catalan art as your lecturer. Spend three nights in medieval Girona, venturing to Roman ruins, Salvador Dalí’s birthplace, and exceptional museums, and four nights sailing Sea Cloud II to art treasures in Valencia, Ibiza, and Mallorca.

Please contact a Met Travel consultant at Arrangements Abroad by phone 844-TRVLMET (844-878-5638); outside New York: 800-221-1944), or via email for more information or to reserve your place on any journey.

View of a row of brightly colored houses behind a river in Copenhagen

April 27–May 7, 2024

Aboard the brand-new small ship Ocean Albatros , embark on a captivating North Sea voyage to explore the influential Hanseatic League, a confederation of merchant guilds and market towns from the 12th to the 15th centuries, which generated unprecedented wealth along Europe’s northern coasts and laid the foundation for the Renaissance. Sail from the south of England to Denmark and discover the extravagant legacy of this prosperity, going behind the scenes of magnificent public buildings, lavish private houses, and richly furnished museums. Transfer from London to Portsmouth, where you will embark the recently christened Ocean Albatros . From England, sail to French Normandy for inside looks at marvelous châteaux, medieval cathedrals, and World War II history. In the Bayeux Cathedral, enjoy a private look at the sprawling Bayeux Tapestry, a landmark achievement of medieval art. Behold jewel-like medieval architecture in charming Bruges, Belgium. During Holland’s tulip season, discover millions of flowering bulbs at Keukenhof Gardens; experience Groningen, a hidden gem of a town; and enjoy exclusive private tours of museums such as Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum. Arrive in Germany for a day in Hamburg, with its massive UNESCO-listed district of brick warehouses, or delve into Hanseatic history at the European Hansemuseum in elegant Lübeck. Then navigate the picturesque, 61-mile-long Kiel Canal connecting the North Sea to the Baltic. Call in sparkling Rostock, the “Gateway to Scandinavia,” and spend a day in Copenhagen, where you’ll have a special tour of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Traveling with You: Rika Burnham is a leading theorist and practitioner of art museum gallery teaching. Author of Teaching in the Art Museum: Interpretation as Experience , and lecturer at Columbia University, she has served as Head of Education at the Frick Collection, Museum Educator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Project Director for TIME/Teaching Institute in Museum Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and was appointed Getty Research Institute Museum Scholar in 2002 and 2018.

Cruise Rates: From $6,999 per person, double rate.

Activity Level:  Intermediate / Moderato

Download the brochure ( PDF ).

View of tulip field and windmill in Kinderdijk

May 12–21 2024

In May 2024, embark on an enchanting cruise aboard the boutique riverboat Magnifique III , traversing the Low Countries from Amsterdam to Bruges. Journey along meandering rivers and canals, encountering majestic cathedrals, picturesque gardens, iconic windmills, and charming medieval villages. Immerse yourself in these cities’ medieval architectural splendor, from Amsterdam’s historic Begijnhof to Bruges’ serene béguinage . Travel with the guidance of seasoned museum educator Rika Burnham and enjoy private viewings of extraordinary masterpieces in churches and museums. From the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to Antwerp’s Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Dutch and Flemish masters like Vermeer, Rembrandt, Bosch, and Bruegel will captivate you. Marvel at the meticulously restored Adoration of the Mystic Lamb in Ghent’s St. Bavo’s Cathedral. In Rotterdam, discover the city’s experimental 21st-century architecture, including the awe-inspiring Markthal, which combines residential apartments with a grand market, and access to the newly opened Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, the world’s first public art storage facility.

Traveling with You: Rika Burnham is a leading theorist and practitioner of art museum gallery teaching. Author of Teaching in the Art Museum: Interpretation as Experience , and lecturer at Columbia University, she has served as Head of Education at the Frick Collection, Museum Educator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Project Director for TIME/Teaching Institute in Museum Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and was appointed Getty Research Institute Museum Scholar in 2002 and 2018.

Land/Cruise Rates: From $8,999 per person (for select single-occupancy-only cabins); from $9,999 per person, double rate.

Download the brochure (PDF).

Panorama of an Ancient Greek Amphitheatre

July 8-17, 2024

Venture to the ancient cradle of Western Civilization on an Aegean Sea voyage from Athens to Istanbul. First, enjoy overnight hotel accommodations in the Greek capital, where a private, after-hours tour and reception at the Acropolis Museum—with views of the Parthenon—will be rare pleasures. Then embark on your seven-night Aegean cruise aboard the elegant Sea Cloud II , discovering timeless villages, whitewashed houses, natural splendors, and treasures of antiquity. Step ashore on stunning Greek islands of myth and legend, including Santorini and sacred Patmos. Sail onward to the Graeco-Roman sites of Asia Minor, now in modern-day Turkey. Enjoy a special excursion to Troy, immortalized in Homer’s Iliad . Discover the region’s fascinating history over several millennia, from Bronze Age archaeological wonders to Byzantine monasteries.

Traveling with You: Frank Dabell was educated at Oxford University and is a former Fellow of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has led tours for major museums on journeys throughout Europe, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Russia and has been celebrated for his work as a travel program lecturer and guide by Travel + Leisure. Most recently, he led Travel with The Met’s 2023 program through the Aegean.

Land/Cruise Rates: From $8,999 per person, double rate

Panorama of a red roofed town and castle next to the Adriatic Sea

September 19–27, 2024

Embark the elegant Sea Cloud II in Venice for an unforgettable Adriatic Sea journey between the Italian and Croatian coastlines, stepping ashore to admire timeless towns and archaeological sites. Savor a rare and exclusive inside look at the landmark achievements in art of the many cultures—from ancient Greeks and Romans to Byzantines and Venetians—who have made the Adriatic region their home. Starting in the lustrous canals of Venice, journey to Ravenna, former capital of the Western Roman Empire, to admire the fifth- and sixth-century mosaics of its early Christian churches. Traverse the Adriatic to Dubrovnik, one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which Lord Byron called “the pearl of the Adriatic.” Discover nearby Hvar, a fertile island of green mountains, Venetian fortifications, and pale stone houses surrounded by rosemary, lavender, and laurel. Step ashore in Zadar, home to historic Roman ruins, medieval churches, cosmopolitan cafés, and quality museums. Further highlights include the seafront city of Pula, whose foundations go back to the fifth century B.C. Experience these cities as they were centuries ago by Roman magistrates and Venetian merchant princes—by sea.

Traveling with You: Keith Christiansen is Curator Emeritus, formerly the John Pope-Hennessy Chairman of the Department of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He began work at The Met in 1977, and, during his 44 years there, organized numerous exhibitions on Renaissance and Baroque painting. He has written widely on Italian art and is the recipient of several awards.

Cruise Rates: From $7,999 per person, double rate

Panorama of a city with brightly colored rooftops and mountains in the background at sunset

October 13–22, 2024

On this Mediterranean Sea adventure touching two continents, cruise to the temples and cities left behind by waves of civilizations, including prehistoric peoples and the ancient Greeks, Carthaginians, and Romans. Sail aboard Sea Cloud II as it travels from Malta to rugged yet beautiful Sicily, Tunisia, and Spain’s Balearic Islands. In Sicily, visit the magnificent Greek ruins of Agrigento and Segesta. In the North African country of Tunisia, experience Tunis and the ancient city of Carthage. In Sardinia, wander through Su Nuraxi di Barumini to see nuraghi , imposing Bronze Age structures only found on this island, and tour Cagliari, Sardinia’s ancient capital. Sail to the island of Menorca and its picturesque capital Mahón. After a memorable day at sea, disembark in Tarragona.

Traveling with You: Page Knox is Lecturer and Educator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she offers her expertise on special exhibitions and the permanent collection, and also teaches membership classes. She is an adjunct professor of art history at Columbia University, where she received her Ph.D. in 2012.

Cruise Rates: From $9,999 per person, double rate

Spanish Mediterranean Palazzos lining a river

October 18–26, 2024

On this Balearic Sea adventure that combines a land program and an elegant cruise aboard Sea Cloud II , take an in-depth journey into the culture, history, and cuisine of cities along the Catalan coast and the Balearic islands of Ibiza and Mallorca. Experience the gems of Catalonia, starting with Girona, Northern Catalonia’s largest city. Over three nights with accommodations at an elegant hotel, discover Girona’s museums, galleries, and fine Romanesque and Gothic buildings, and visit the Museu d’Història dels Jueus, which highlights the contributions of Girona’s once-flourishing Jewish community. Continue to Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dalí and now home to his flamboyant theater-museum. Embark Sea Cloud II in Tarragona, formerly Tarraco, and explore its Roman ruins, the Iberian Peninsula’s oldest Roman settlement. On the Catalan coast, visit Valencia, where architectural styles abound, including architect Santiago Calatrava’s modern masterpieces. Stop on the glamorous island of Ibiza to explore its Phoenician history dating back 3,000 years, then head for the Balearic island of Mallorca. In its capital, Palma de Mallorca, tour La Seu, a spectacular sandstone cathedral that took 600 years to build, before returning to Tarragona for disembarkation.

Land/Cruise Rates: From $6,999 per person, double rate

Download the brochure ( PDF ). 

Luxor Temple at night

December 29,  2024–January 9, 2025

Embark on an extraordinary New Year’s journey into the heart of ancient Egypt. This exclusive program offers a unique blend of private plane travel, a four-night Nile River cruise aboard the elegant Sanctuary Nile Adventurer , and unparalleled access to Egypt’s legendary sites. The adventure begins in Cairo, where you’ll explore the Great Pyramids. Then see the Great Sphinx up close, bypassing the usual crowds. Visit the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, with a special look behind the scenes at its restoration center. Delve into the recently opened underground chambers of King Djoser’s Step Pyramid in Sakkara, and explore the tomb of Wahtye, adorned with statues, paintings, and hieroglyphs. A private flight to Luxor leads to visits to the UNESCO-listed necropolis in Thebes and rare access to Queen Nefertari’s tomb, known for its vivid wall paintings. Embark Sanctuary Nile Adventurer for your Nile River voyage, which takes you to sublime tombs and temples in Luxor, Edfu, Kom Ombo, and Aswan, with a private plane journey to the awe-inspiring temples of Abu Simbel. Conclude your journey in Cairo. You may choose to take part in an optional postlude in Jordan featuring the resplendent ancient wonders of Amman and Petra.

Traveling with You: Christopher Noey is an art historian, author, and an Emmy award-winning producer of films on art and culture who has been traveling to Egypt for 40 years. An expert in Asian and Islamic art, Mr. Noey has taught at Williams College and the City College of New York.

Land/Cruise Rates: From $13,999 per person, double rate

For more information, contact us by phone (212-570-3755), fax (212-396-5040), or email .

Stay informed: Sign up for our e-newsletter .

To reach our tour operator directly, please contact a Met Travel consultant at Arrangements Abroad by phone 844-TRVLMET (844-878-5638); outside New York: 800-221-1944),  email , or write to:

Arrangements Abroad 260 West 39th Street, 17th Floor New York, NY 10018-4424

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National Museum of Natural History Virtual Tours

Access the tours.

Hall of Fossils - Deep Time, Giant Sloth

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History virtual tours allow visitors to take self-guided, room-by-room tours of select exhibits and areas within the museum from their desktop or mobile device. Visitors can also access select collections and research areas at our satellite support and research stations as well as past exhibits no longer on display.

Virtual Tour Tips

  • To navigate between adjoining rooms in the tours, click on the blue arrow links on the floor or use the navigation map in the upper right of the presentation screen.
  • Look for the camera icon which gives you a close-up view of a particular object or exhibit panel.
  • Try zooming in as some of the images are stitched together from individual pictures in order to create very high resolution gigapixel images.

Please note: This tour and these presentations have been tested and should work on all common devices, browsers, and operating systems (using a desktop computer with Windows, Mac, Linux or a mobile device such as an iPhone, iPad, or Android). Functionality and appearance may vary as it will adjust automatically to accommodate the most visitors. While the virtual tour has no advertising, ad blocking software or browser settings that block JavaScript and/or XML may interfere with the functionality of the virtual tour. Please let us know what you think of the tour and how the experience can be improved. Send your feedback to the NMNH Web Team .

Site Credit: Imagery and coding by Loren Ybarrondo

Equipment Used: Professional Nikon digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera bodies and lenses. The photography is typically done using rectilinear lenses with minimized distortion and shooting equirectangular panoramas at 22K pixels on the long side.

Software Used: No authoring software is used. The tours are hand-coded in HTML5 and JavaScript using the krpano graphics library.

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Vermeer: In Praise of the Ordinary

Weekend all-day lecture/seminar, select your tickets.

  • Vermeer | List of Works

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A Lady and Two Gentlemen by Johannes Vermeer

A master of light and color, Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) creates a timeless world where the smallest actions take on a sense of beauty and meaning beyond their commonplace settings. Though few in number, his paintings are considered some of the finest works in their genre. His artistry rests in his ability to transform a simple daily activity— such as pouring a jug of milk or reading a letter—into a sensitive exploration of human psychology. His masterpieces such as The Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Milkmaid, Girl with the Red Hat, and The Music Lesson, were meticulously created, often taking six months or more to complete. Gloriously lit, serene, and exquisitely rendered, they continue to speak to us through their abilty to touch upon some of the most universal ideas in human experience.

Art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine discusses Vermeer’s place within the artistic culture of Holland, with an emphasis on his native city of Delft, then examines more closely some of his favorite themes and their possible meanings. The day ends with an examination  of Vermeer’s legacy as reflected in the work of artists and writers following his rediscovery at the end of the 19th century.                           

10–11 a.m . The Sphynx of Delft

Johannes Vermeer and his milieu

11:15 a.m.–­12:30 p.m.   Principal Themes and Ideas in Vermeer’s Painting

12:45–1:15 p.m.  Break

1:15–2:15 p.m .   Painting as Philosophy

How Vermeer can teach us ways to see and think about the world 

2:30-3:30 p.m. Vermeer’s Legacy

His influence on later artists from the end of the 19th century to the present

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1 credit*

Book Sale Information

  • Pre-order your copy of Vermeer and the Art of Love by Aneta Georgievska-Shine here .
  • SPECIAL NOTE: Politics and Prose is offering a 10% discount to Smithsonian Associates ticket-holders. To claim your discount, enter the code SPECIAL10 (no space between letters and numbers) in the “Coupon discount” section on Politics and Prose's check-out page.

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from [email protected].
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here .

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Smithsonian Journeys Consumer Reviews

VIRGINIA -- We had the opposite experience with Smithsonian. We had booked a family trip to Yellowstone in 2020, which of course was cancelled because of the pandemic. We chose to roll over our deposit instead of taking a refund. In 2021, the no one else had signed up due to the continued pandemic, so we rolled it over again. In July 2022 we had a fabulous trip to Yellowstone with our grandson. Throughout our experience we were able to talk to a Smithsonian representative personally. We were contacted about adjusting the date of our trip one week earlier to be sure the trip would go. Smithsonian was dealing with travel chaos, just as we were. They were very professional and courteous, as we were with them.

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- In February 2021, we reserved a trip run by Smithsonian Journeys to Normandy, France, scheduled to take place October 2 - 10, 2021. A deposit of $1,000 was sent to Smithsonian Journeys, who used AHI Travel to book hotels and airlines for the trip. We paid a total of $14,476 by check and credit card to AHI Travel for the full cost of the trip including Airline reservations in July and August, the last payment was made on August 3.

On August 25 we received notice that Smithsonian had cancelled the trip because the U.S. Department of State rated travel to France as "Advisory Level 4", DO NOT TRAVEL. Smithsonian offered the option of a full refund, which we took. Smithsonian refunded our $1,000 deposit within two weeks, but as of yet, we have not received the remainder of the funds from AHI Travel. They are claiming that it will take of to 8-weeks for the refund, but $6,300 of the $14,476 we paid to AHI was paid by them to Air France for air travel.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, "If a passenger is owed a refund, an airline, travel agent, or online travel agency must process it within seven business days if the passenger paid by credit card, and 20 business days if the passenger paid by cash or check".

The Normandy trip was not the first trip we have taken with Smithsonian travel and we have previously been happy with their service. However, based on our experience on the Normandy reservation, we would not recommend booking travel with Smithsonian Journeys and AHI Travel.

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- My friend and I booked this trip as a "reunion" with our college buddies. We paid the deposit $1,000.00 on 11/15/19. Then Covid came along, and the trip was cancelled. We chose to have them keep the deposit in anticipation that we could make the next trip. The year 2020 passed, and in late May, 2021, they notified us we could make the trip in October. We talked with our friends, and found out that they had talked to Smithsonian about us all changing our trip to an earlier time slot. Then we found that AHI Travel (awful), booked my friend and I on a different date from our friends in Arizona. We tried to get it changed, and long story short, they finally had an opening on the other date, but did not notify us until mid September with sailing in October.

It had all been a nightmare and a mess, which they caused. We declined the new sailing date, and they have declined to return our $1,000.00 deposit. 2019-2021, and through no fault of ours they refuse. DO NOT TAKE A TRIP WITH THESE PEOPLE. I have travelled for 20 years, and never had such a terrible experience, lack of communication, and refusal to work with us.

Smithsonian Journeys suck!!! Would like to give them zero stars but unfortunately this is not an option. Booked a Peru family adventure trip through Smithsonian Journeys in August 2017. Got confirmation, paid trip in full. Few weeks later got an email from Thomson adventures - the company that Smithsonian had contracted to provide the actual trip - notifying us that Smithsonian Journeys had canceled our trip.

Smithsonian Journeys didn't even had the guts to call us personally to inform of cancellation. Smithsonian Journeys never apologized for the cancellation either. Luckily Thomson Adventures stepped up and offered to take us to the same trip minus Smithsonian lecturers. Turns out that Thomson Adventures never cancel - not for any reason. We had a wonderful trip thanks to the Thomson Adventures.

Shame on Smithsonian Journeys. Don't ever book the trip with Smithsonian Journeys - check out which tour operator they use and book directly with the tour operator. Thomson adventures and Tauck tours are good options - they don't cancel. Have never disappointed us.

TENNESSEE -- I had to cancel a trip with Smithsonian Journeys due to issues with the coronavirus. I cancelled it 6 months in advance. They will not refund my deposit! They want to transfer it to a future trip. I am very futile find that my respect for the Smithsonian is misplaced.

CAMBRIDGE, MA, MASSACHUSETTS -- In October of 2005 my wife and I booked a trip to Peru with Smithsonian Journeys located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The trip is scheduled for May, 2006. We selected this tour because of a great interest in the ruins of Machu Picchu and because it was one of the very few tours that included a stay in Sanctuary Lodge which is the ONLY hotel located within the walls of Machu Picchu. As one of the seven wonders of the modern world, it was CRITICALLY important to us to stay in that facility to achieve our travel desires. We paid a deposit of $500 for each of us.

Over a month later we noticed in one of the brochures from the company that the tour would NOT be staying in Sanctuary Lodge but in another facility some miles away from the monument itself. When I called the company to inquire about this change in January, 2006 I was told that the company uses several different hotels for that part of the trip and they were not going to use Sanctuary Lodge on this trip. I told them that staying at Sanctuary Lodge was the ONLY reason we selected this tour and that if the tour was not going to stay at Sanctuary Lodge we would like to cancel our participation in the tour and have our deposits returned. They refused to do so.

After a series of letters were exchanged they continued to refuse to refund our deposit offering only “travel vouchers” for another tour. In NONE of the letters does the company deny having switched hotels without notification. Obviously, this is unacceptable to us since we believe that Smithsonian Journeys used a form of “bait and switch” and we can NEVER trust this company again. We are experienced travelers and we have never been treated in such a shoddy manner by any other tour operator.

We believe this “bait and switch” tactic to be unethical and the failure to refund our deposits is, at the very least, a terrible business practice. We would like to alert you to the practices of this company as we believe them to be totally unacceptable for any legitimate travel agent.

smithsonian travel vermeer trip

Restoration Reveals Long-Lost Cupid Painted Over After Vermeer’s Death

In an unusual move, the Dresden gallery has opted to display the half-restored painting prior to concluding conservation efforts

Meilan Solly

Meilan Solly

Associate Editor, History

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Johannes Vermeer ’s “ Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window ” has a decidedly protracted provenance. Attributed first to Rembrandt and later to Pieter de Hooch , the canvas was only identified as a Vermeer original in 1862. During World War II , the contemplative scene narrowly escaped destruction in the firebombing of Dresden, but then fell into the hands of the invading Soviets, who refused to return the plundered painting until 1955.

Now, ongoing restoration work has added yet another wrinkle to the story of the 1657 masterpiece: As Germany’s Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden announced earlier this week, a recent bout of laboratory testing confirmed that a long-hidden Cupid found in the top right-hand corner of the canvas was painted over not by the Dutch Golden Age artist, but an unknown party who acted decades after Vermeer’s death. Although art historians have known of the little god of love’s existence since 1979, they previously believed Vermeer covered up the figure himself and, as a result, decided against restoring the painting to its original form.

According to a press release , conservators opted to remove the overpainting in lieu of their discovery, but rather than waiting until the process is complete to return the work to its place in the museum’s Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, they have decided to pause halfway through so that Cupid—or more specifically his head and upper body—can finally make his public debut. Between May 8 and June 16, visitors will be able to view the painting, complete with a semi-unveiled Cupid painstakingly exposed by scalpel scraping, before it returns to the studio for the final stages of restoration.

As artnet News ’ Kate Brown reports, conservator Christoph Schölzel began working on the painting in 2017, using X-ray, infrared reflectography imaging and microscopic analyses to examine its underlying layers. These tests, conducted in conjunction with research on the canvas’ restoration history, offered decisive proof that Vermeer was not the one responsible for replacing Cupid with a blank wall.

Restoration Reveals Long-Lost Cupid Painted Over After Vermeer’s Death

“There was even a layer of dirt above the original varnish on the Cupid, showing the painting had been in its original state for decades,” senior conservator Uta Neidhardt tells the Art Newspaper ’s Catherine Hickley. The overpainting’s coloring, which was slightly darker than that of Vermeer’s background, also spoke to the layer’s later date, as the second artist had to match darkening varnish on the original.

“This is the most sensational experience of my career,” Neidhardt says. “It makes it a different painting.”

Interestingly, Hickley notes that the hidden Cupid, seen standing in a framed portrait on the wall behind the painting’s central figure, closely mirrors a depiction of the god found in “ A Young Woman Standing at a Virginal ,” a 1670-72 Vermeer owned by London’s National Gallery. It’s possible both works were based on a real painting in the artist’s possession; a 1676 inventory of his widow’s belongings cites “a Cupid.”

The newly revealed Cupid adds a new level of meaning to the painting. Whereas the scene previously offered no clues to the eponymous letter’s content, the god of love’s presence places the scene in a different context. Perhaps the girl, attention fixed on the crumpled paper in her hands, has just had her heart broken by an uncaring lover. On a more positive note, it's equally possible Cupid’s watchful gaze is a sign of the subject’s luck in love.

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Meilan Solly

Meilan Solly | | READ MORE

Meilan Solly is Smithsonian magazine's associate digital editor, history.

IMAGES

  1. The Vermeer Road Trip

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  2. An Expert Has Figured Out the Real-Life Location of Vermeer’s “Little

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  3. Special Offers

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  4. A Vermeer Moment

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  5. Largest Exhibition of Vermeer Paintings Ever Staged Will Open in

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  6. Opere di Jan Vermeer: più belle, visite e tour online

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  3. Vermeer BC1800XL Eating Logs

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  5. My Trip to the Smithsonian National Zoo!

COMMENTS

  1. A Stay in Holland: An Art History Journey from Vermeer to Van Gogh

    9 days from $5,240. From your base in historic Haarlem, immerse yourself in the world of Dutch fine arts, encountering the works of masters from Rembrandt and Vermeer to Van Gogh and exploring cultural hubs from Delft to Rotterdam. Request a Brochure. Make a Reservation.

  2. Smithsonian Travel, Worldwide Adventures, Great Values, Cruises, Tours

    Smithsonian Journeys, the Smithsonian Institution's Travel Program, offers 350+ worldwide learning vacations led by experts and experienced guides. ... An Art History Journey from Vermeer to Van Gogh for Apr 22 - 30, 2025. Optional Extensions. Other Information. Terms and Conditions

  3. Smithsonian Travel, Worldwide Adventures, Great Values, Cruises, Tours

    Smithsonian Journeys, the Smithsonian Institution's Travel Program, offers 350+ worldwide learning vacations led by experts and experienced guides. Accessibility Navigation. ... Trip Type. Land Journeys 57; Airfare Included 27; Ocean Cruising 28; River Cruising 12; Cultural Stays 15;

  4. Explore Vermeer's Surviving Paintings ...

    More than 150 years after Vermeer's death, a French art critic named Etienne-Joseph-Théophile Thoré-Bürger chanced upon a Vermeer painting entitled "View of Delft" while visiting a Dutch ...

  5. Smithsonian Journeys Travel Catalog (June 2023)

    Travel with Smithsonian Journeys. ... An Art History Journey from Vermeer to Van Gogh NEW! ... 6 SMITHSONIANJOURNEYS.ORG / 877.338.8687 / BOOK YOUR TRIP SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS. 1 2.

  6. Time Stands Still in the Harmonious World of Vermeer

    November 1995. The incomparable Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer is known for his solitary, serene figures caught in acts of private contemplation. Now a new exhibition at the National Gallery of Art ...

  7. Envisioning Vermeer, Master of Genre Painting ...

    Philip Kennicott of The Washington Post writes that the gallery's 1995 exhibition, which brought together 21 of Vermeer's 35 surviving works, attracted roughly 300,000 visitors, many of whom ...

  8. Largest Exhibition of Vermeer Paintings Ever ...

    Vermeer died in debt and relative obscurity in 1675 at age 43. His paintings, too, have a mysterious air. The artist opted for dark, isolated scenes portraying everyday Dutch life in the 17th century.

  9. Smithsonian Journeys Travel Catalog (Jan. 2023)

    Round-trip from Athens Aboard the 184-guest Le Jacques Cartier or Le Champlain, or the 264-guest L'Austral A cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 8 days from $5,360* July 12-19 ...

  10. Jan Vermeer

    The art adventure begins with "Museum in My Pocket" and it's never the same twice! Curate your own personal art collection or play games that test your memory, imagination, and storytelling skills. The set comes with fifty-two large-format cards featuring artwork from SAAM's collection, along with instructions for four unique games ...

  11. Travel with The Met

    To reach our tour operator directly, please contact a Met Travel consultant at Arrangements Abroad by phone 844-TRVLMET (844-878-5638); outside New York: 800-221-1944), email, or write to: Arrangements Abroad. 260 West 39th Street, 17th Floor. New York, NY 10018-4424. Venture abroad with the Metropolitan Museum's own lecturers and other art ...

  12. Smithsonian Journeys January 2022 Travel Catalog

    Observatory at Haleakala, Maui. Astronomy in Arizona Behind the Scenes with Smithsonian 5 days from $3,690 Includes $250 special savings Special air rates available May 1-5, Oct. 23-27, 2022 ...

  13. The Spell of Vermeer

    The day ends with a survey of Vermeer's legacy as reflected in the work of artists and writers from the end of the 19th century to the present. 9:30-10:45 a.m. Vermeer and His Milieu. 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Themes and Ideas . 12:15-1:15 p.m. Lunch (participants provide their own) 1:15-2:30 p.m. Vermeer's Women. 2:45-4 p.m. Vermeer's ...

  14. Virtual Tour

    Narrated Tours. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History virtual tours allow visitors to take self-guided, room-by-room tours of select exhibits and areas within the museum from their desktop or mobile device. Visitors can also access select collections and research areas at our satellite support and research stations as well as past ...

  15. Smithsonian Travel, Worldwide Adventures, Great Values, Cruises, Tours

    Smithsonian Journeys, the Smithsonian Institution's Travel Program, offers 350+ worldwide learning vacations led by experts and experienced guides. ... For faster service, you may reserve your trip online. Simply find the trip you are interested in and click on "Make a Reservation". Request a Catalog Newsletter Sign Up 855.330.1542 M-F 9am-6pm ...

  16. Vermeer: In Praise of the Ordinary

    A Lady and Two Gentlemen by Johannes Vermeer. A master of light and color, Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) creates a timeless world where the smallest actions take on a sense of beauty and meaning beyond their commonplace settings. Though few in number, his paintings are considered some of the finest works in their genre.

  17. Top 6 Reviews of Smithsonian Journeys

    By Alan T - 10/11/2021. CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- In February 2021, we reserved a trip run by Smithsonian Journeys to Normandy, France, scheduled to take place October 2 - 10, 2021. A deposit of $1,000 was sent to Smithsonian Journeys, who used AHI Travel to book hotels and airlines for the trip. We paid a total of $14,476 by check and credit card ...

  18. Articles tagged as Vermeer

    Five Things to Know About the Gardner Museum Heist—the Biggest Art Theft in Modern History. In 1990, two thieves made off with a $500 million cache of art by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and more ...

  19. Restoration Reveals Long-Lost Cupid Painted Over After Vermeer's Death

    Restoration Reveals Long-Lost Cupid Painted Over After Vermeer's Death. In an unusual move, the Dresden gallery has opted to display the half-restored painting prior to concluding conservation ...