In Oud Holland: about the pioneering Vermeer exhibition in 1935

Oud Holland wraps up this year with an article about the pioneering Vermeer exhibition of 1935. The issue also includes a comprehensive analysis of a picturesque motif in Belle Époque Bruges, and an article about the surprising mirrored world of Hercules Segers.

In 1935, Museum Boymans in Rotterdam organized the first major show about Johannes Vermeer and his Delft contemporaries. It was curated by director Dirk Hannema, on the occasion of the opening of the new museum building. Through new archival research, Justine Rinnooy Kan explores the concept, execution and reception of the exhibition, with a focus on Hannema as the driving force.

Around 1900, the city of Bruges was considered as the capital of symbolism. One of the motifs that was frequently described and depicted, notaby in the budding tourist industry, was the black, hooded cloak or ‘kapmantel’ worn by local women. Stefan Huygebaert reveals the various and multilayered meanings of the attire in symbolist art: from a mourning cloak to a symbol of mysterious occultation, from a religious purpose to a social equalizer in Belgian society.

Recent research by Laurens Schoemaker has led to a revision of existing ideas concerning three works by Hercules Segers. An etching generally assumed to depict Amersfoort, turns out to be a mirror-image view of Rhenen. The city is also recognizable in two paintings by Segers. Remarkably, these landscapes are mirror images of each other. It was commonly believed that the larger painting depicted the correct orientation, but the opposite is true, as a result of which the two works must be described entirely differently.

For summaries of the articles, go to


1. Cover Oud Holland 2021-4, volume 134
2. Johannes Vermeer, A lady writing, c. 1665, detail, Washington, National Gallery of Art

Oud Holland – Journal for Art of the Low Countries
2021 - 4, volume 134:

Laurens Schoemaker
Hercules Segers’ mirrored world: Three views of Rhenen

Stefan Huygebaert
Uncloaking the kapmantel in Belle Époque Bruges: The symbolist potential of a picturesque motif in art

Justine Rinnooy Kan
The Vermeer exhibition of 1935: A major debut in historical perspective

About Oud Holland

The oldest surviving art-historical journal in the world is a Dutch periodical. From 1883 until now Oud Holland – Journal for Art of the Low Countries publishes scholarly articles about important archival finds and major art-historical discoveries. The scope of Oud Holland is art from the Low Countries from c. 1400 to 1920. For more information and news about recent issues of Oud Holland, online reviews, back issues, subscriptions and information for authors, visit