Professor of art history Frans Grijzenhout at the University of Amsterdam has solved the puzzle of the location of Johannes Vermeer's (1632-1675) famous painting The Little Street (1658), identifying the spot at Vlamingstraat 40-42 to the east of the centre of Delft.
Professionals and amateurs alike have been searching for the spot since the painting was first given to the Rijksmuseum in the 1920s. The find took nine months of archive research examining historical documents including ‘De legger van het diepen der wateren binnen de stad Delft’ (The ledger of the dredging of the canals in the town of Delft), sales contracts and legal papers for the surrounding properties to narrow down and eventually identity the spot.
This was a spot Vermeer knew well, as his mother and sister occupied a property diagonally opposite. The area has since changed beyond recognition, the stepped gables making way for houses in Dutch classical style, with cross frames and high windows. All that remains of the scene of Vermeer’s day is the 'Penspoort' or Tripe Gate, the passageway adjoining the house. Grijzenhout hopes that the find will improve fortunes for the beautiful city of Delft which is currently experiencing hard times financially.
An exhibition at the Rijksmuseum, Vermeer’s The Little Street discovered, is devoted to the discovery from 20 November 2015 to 13 March 2016, then moving to the Museum Prinsenhof in Delft from 25 March to 17 June 2016.
Throughout the years, The Low Countries Yearbook published four articles on Vermeer's work: Reality and Art in the Work of Jan Dibbets and Johannes Vermeer by Micky Piller in 1997, Vermeer and the Art of Optical Disillusion by Celeste Brusati in 1996, What I Like about Vermeer by Christiane Hertel in 1995 and Woman in Blue Reading a Letter. An Approach to Viewing Vermeer by Arthur K Wheelock, Jr. in 1994
See Vermeer's Little Street next to today's Vlamingstraat below.