The Concert (Vermeer)
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||72.5 cm × 64.7 cm (28.5 in × 25.5 in)|
|Location||Whereabouts unknown since the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft in 1990|
The Concert (c. 1664) is a painting by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. The 72.5-by-64.7-centimetre (28.5 by 25.5 in) picture depicts a man and two women playing music. It belongs to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, but was stolen in 1990 and remains missing. It is thought to be the most valuable unrecovered stolen painting ever, with a value estimated at over $200,000,000.
The picture shows three musicians: a young woman sitting at a harpsichord, a man playing a lute, and a woman who is singing. The harpsichord's upturned lid is decorated with an Arcadian landscape; its bright colouring stands in contrast to the two paintings hanging on the wall to the right and left. A viola da gamba can be seen lying on the floor.
Of the two paintings in the background, the one on the right is The Procuress by Dirck van Baburen, a work which also appears in Vermeer's Lady Seated at a Virginal, probably painted around six years after The Concert. The painting on the left is a wild pastoral landscape. The musical theme in Dutch painting in Vermeer's time often connoted love and seduction, a motif reinforced by the presence of Baburen's sexually exuberant picture.
The location of the painting was unknown for a long time. Sold in Amsterdam in 1696, it did not reappear until 1780. It was acquired by Isabella Stewart Gardner in an 1892 auction in Paris for $5,000 and subsequently displayed in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, beginning in 1903. On the night of March 18, 1990, thieves disguised as policemen stole 13 works out of the museum, including The Concert. To this day the painting has not resurfaced.
In popular culture
- In an episode[which?] of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert claims to be in possession of the work.
- In a 1964 episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour called "Ten Minutes from Now", an art thief is shown stealing this painting from a museum.
- In the 2003 movie Girl with a Pearl Earring, Vermeer is shown painting The Concert at the same time that he is painting Girl with a Pearl Earring.
- In an episode of the anime television series Gallery Fake, "Duet" (air date April 16, 2005), Fujita is talked into representing a buyer in a black market auction of The Concert.
- In an episode of the television series The Venture Brothers, "Victor. Echo. November." (air date August 13, 2006), The Concert along with The Storm on the Sea of Galilee and several other noted works, are displayed among Phantom Limb's collection of stolen art.
- Stolen, a documentary film about the theft of The Concert, was produced in 2006 by Persistence of Vision Films.
- An Object of Beauty, a novel by Steve Martin (2010), includes an unresolved plot line involving the theft of The Concert from the Stewart Gardner Museum.
- In an episode of The Simpsons, "American History X-cellent" (original air date: April 11, 2010), Mr. Burns is jailed after he is discovered to have The Concert among his collection.
- In the 2011 novel The 39 Clues: The Medusa Plot the painting is found by Amy and Dan Cahill in Italy.
- In the NCIS: Los Angeles television series episode "Active Measures" (season 7, episode 1; air date September 21, 2015) the character Anatoli Kirkin claims that The Concert has been stolen from him.
- "The $500 Million Gardner Museum Heist: Have You Seen These Paintings?". Time Magazine. March 18, 2013.
- Stolen, a documentary about the theft of The Concert, from the PBS website.
- Janson, Jonathan. "Understanding The Concert by Johannes Vermeer".
- "Netflix - Watch TV Shows Online, Watch Movies Online".
- "Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum : The Concert". tendercreative.com.
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