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Today, the main page of Google's search engine is dominated by Johannes Vermeer, the greatest figure in 17th century German Lowland painting alongside Rembrandt. But why? 

Anyone who regularly uses Google's search engine will have come across that instead of the company's familiar logo, some other pattern, doodle has been given space, which commemorates a significant person or event. Today, the search giant is marking a very special occasion decorated with sidebar: On this day in 1995, an exhibition opened at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where 22 of the 35 works on display were by the world-famous Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. More than 300,000 people queued in Washington to see the Dutch artist's paintings.

The only alleged portrait by Johannes Vermeer

Vermeer was born in Delft in 1632, the son of an art dealer. For a long time, the Dutch painter was only recognised by his contemporaries, until the mid-19th century, when his work was rediscovered by the renowned French art historian Théophile Thoré-Bürger. Vermeer's finest paintings were produced between 1660 and 1670, and he is associated with works such as The Reader is a woman, The woman with the bead, the Woman at the window with a water jug, the Lace-Maker Woman and the Woman pouring milk. His most famous painting is "Mona Lisa of the North" also called Girl with pearl earrings, (or Turbaned woman) with which it was completed in 1665. Only a few of Vermeer's works are known to posterity, barely forty in all, and even among these there are some whose authenticity has not yet been proven.

The Girl with a Pearl Earring is currently on display at the Mauritshuis in The Hague.

Johannes Vermeer died on December 15, 1675, leaving his widow essentially nothing but debts. The Google homepage recalls the painter's various periods.

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