Touché! Mauritshuis Re-creates Home of Re-creator for Collection Re-opening Campaign

Dr. Shin-Ichi Fukuoka, widely known in Japan as a huge fan of 17th century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, is now starring in a marketing campaign for the re-opening the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis. The museum is home to one of the world’s most outstanding collections of Dutch Golden Age paintings, including the Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Dr. Fukuoka, who has also made a name for himself as the originator of the “re-create” approach to the digital remastering of art, travelled to The Hague, Netherlands, to complete filming for his starring role. The short film sees him making the trip from his apartment in New York City—where one of his re-create images of the Girl has pride of place on the wall, to the Mauritshuis, where the original Girl resides. On entering the gallery, Dr. Fukuoka sees that he’s been beaten at his own game; here, everything has been re-created apart from Vermeer’s iconic painting. The tagline—“Discover the original at the Mauritshuis”—is another well-played reference to Dr. Fukuoka’s “re-create” project.

“I take my hat off to the Mauritshuis”, says Dr. Fukuoka. “They’ve taken the re-create concept and run with it. I certainly never thought that I would be able to sit in my own lounge next to the real Girl”. Although he has pioneered exhibitions of re-created Vermeers in Japan, Dr. Fukuoka stressed that his intention has never been to replace the originals with replicas. “Going to see original Vermeers in the museums which house them is something which gives me great joy. I’ve even written a book about my journey around the world to visit as many of the extant Vermeers as possible [Vermeer: Realm of Light, published by Kirakusha, in Japanese]. So it’s wonderful to see the Girl back in the beautifully renovated Mauritshuis”.

Vermeer: Realm of Light, Dr. Fukuoka’s exhibition of re-created versions of all 37 recognised Vermeers, continues to travel around Japan, only recently closing its doors in Nagoya after a five week residency. In the meantime, Dr. Fukuoka continues to pursue his research on Vermeer; he is currently working on uncovering further evidence to support his hypothesis about a friendship between Vermeer and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, a contemporary of Vermeer, born in the same small town of Delft, who is renowned today as the father of microscopy.