Vermeer's 'Little Street' identified
November 20 2015
Frans Grijzenhout, Professor of Art History at the University of Amsterdam, has identified the location of Vermeer's 'The Little Street'. Reports Codart News:
new research has enabled Professor Grijzenhout to identify the exact address: it is Vlamingstraat in Delft, at the point where the present-day numbers 40 and 42 stand. Various other addresses in Delft have been suggested over the years, but none was convincing. The new source Frans Grijzenhout consulted for this research, which led to the conclusive findings of his investigation, is De legger van het diepen der wateren binnen de stad Delft (the ledger of the dredging of the canals in the town of Delft) of 1667, also known as the Register op het kadegeld (quay dues register). It is a record of how much tax everyone in Delft who owned a house on a canal had to pay for dredging the canal and maintaining the quay outside their door. The register provides a detailed account, accurate to within around 15 centimetres, of the width of all the houses and of all the passageways between them that lined Delft’s canals in Vermeer’s day. He was able to establish that on the north side of Vlamingstraat, a quite narrow canal in what was then the poorer eastern quarter of Delft, there were two houses where numbers 40 and 42 now stand. Each house was approximately 6.3 metres wide, and between them were two immediately adjacent passageways, each around.1.2 metres wide. Further research into the position of the houses and the small gardens behind them confirmed that the situation on the spot corresponds exactly with the painting. There was no other place in Delft during that time where this constellation was found.
Great sleuthing, Prof. Grijzenhout!
Update - a reader writes:
Did you hear Prof Grijzenhout on Today this morning about 'The Little Street'?
"Q: Who, other than people who are interested in Vermeer, will be excited about this?
Prof: Well, 'people who are interested in Vermeer' is quite a lot of people..."
Just the sort of daft question you get on the Today programme these days.