We all know The Little Street of Vermeer, which can also be seen in the Hall of Honours in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. But one question was always left unanswered until now, because a Dutch leading art historian pinpointed the location.

Professor Frans Grijzenhout consulted records from the 17th century to locate the alley in the painting known as The Little Street. The exact location, Grijzenhout says, is between numbers 40 and 42 in the Vlamingstraat in Delft and can still be seen today.

To locate this specific place, Grijzenhout used detailed records that where kept by Delft city council. These records showed how much tax everyone in the town back then had to pay for dredging canals and maintaining the quayside by their property. These records also contain accurate details about the size of the properties, which made Grijzenhout match the painting with the location.

The investigation also found the house on the right in the painting belonged to Vermeer’s widowed aunt, Ariaentgen Claes van der Minne. Vermeer’s mother and sister also lived opposite on the same canal. The discovery of the street’s location is the subject of a special exhibition at the Amsterdam museum, which runs until March 13.

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