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Crowd-magnet Vermeer borrowed for Alte Pinakothek’s curtain-raiser

Munich museum has undergone a four-year €12m renovation

Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (1663-64) Courtesy of Rijksmuseum

The Munich Alte Pinakothek is one of the world's leading museums of Old Master paintings. Since February 2014 most of its galleries have been closed for a €12m renovation and environmentally efficient improvements, paid for by the Bavarian state and the German federal government. This week all 70 of the entirely refurbished galleries have been reopened with the celebratory exhibition: Vermeer's Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (until 30 September). In a gesture of solidarity, this 1663 painting has been loaned especially for the occasion by that other recently refurbished world-leading Old Master museum, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (As readers of The Art Newspaper will be aware, the inclusion of the name “Vermeer” in any exhibition title is a guarantee of high attendances, so the exhibition is sure to be a summer tourist magnet until it closes on 30 September.) The idea is to use the Woman in Blue to compare and contrast other Dutch Old Master paintings from the permanent collection.