Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure

Friday 6th September 2013

One of the most popular themes in genre paintings of the Dutch Golden Age was the relationship between Music and Love, often alluding metaphorically to the harmony of two souls. This is suggested by dialogues between couples, as well as the frequent presence of exquisitely depicted instruments such as lutes, virginals and harpsichords. This exhibition explores masterpieces by Vermeer and his contemporaries by combining their paintings with examples of rare musical instruments and songbooks of the period.

The Academy of Ancient Music will also bring the paintings to life by performing music of Vermeer's time on period instruments.

There will also be a rare opportunity to see a number of Vermeer's works displayed together for the first time. A treat for both lovers of art and music




Please meet in National Gallery Conference Room 1 where refreshments will be served from 10.30. The Conference Rooms are situated on the first floor of the Sainsbury Wing, next to the National Dining Room Restaurant. Our lecture will then take place at 11.00.

After lunch (optional) we have timed entry tickets to the exhibition.

Lecturing is not permitted in the exhibition but audioguide hire is also included and Siân Walters will be available for further discussion and questions. The fee will be £42.00 per person and includes coffee/tea and biscuits on arrival, an introductory slide lecture, timed entry tickets and audioguide hire.

On the day of our visit the Academy of Ancient Music will bring the paintings to life with music of the period. These live musical performances will take place in the exhibition space, starting at 3pm and 4pm and lasting approximately 20 minutes.


Please let us know if you would like to join us for lunch - there is a very reasonably-priced set menu (£10) at an Italian restaurant near the National Gallery with a choice of dishes, and payment can be made on the day.

Please let us know on the booking form if you have any food intolerances, allergies or dietary requirements.

Further Study Day Information

Location and Directions
We will meet in the Conference Rooms of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN Tel: 020 7747 2885

To view a map of the gallery location click here

Travel Information:
The nearest tube stations are Leicester Square and Charing Cross. If you are coming from Waterloo, you may wish to take the overland train from Waterloo East which brings you into Charing Cross railway station, which is a regular and efficient service. If you are coming by bus, click here for a list of bus routes.

If you would like to join us please fill in the online booking form. If you would prefer to send a booking form by post please download a copy here.

Once your booking has been accepted, we will notify you by email. Normally we will not need to send you any further information, so please just bring the study day details and email confirmation with you on the day. We regret we are unable to offer refunds on unused tickets, but tickets may be transferred to someone else for the event you have booked (please do let us know if you would like to do so, and give us the name of the person who will be taking your place). Booking closes two weeks before the study day, and availability is limited.

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for booking this event.


  • Introductory lecture in the National Gallery conference rooms
  • Live performance by the Academy of Ancient Music
  • Outstanding paintings from the Dutch Golden Age shown alongside musical instruments of the period
  • Pre-lecture refreshments included



Booking is now closed.

If you have any questions regarding the study day or booking please send us an email

Recommended Reading

Visit the AHF bookstore for a list of recommended books and products to accompany this study day.


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