Exhibition of the week: Vermeer and Music: the Art of Love and Leisure

National Gallery, London WC2

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The Independent Culture

The National's summer exhibition showcases the genre of painting women and men playing music at which Vermeer excelled and which engaged many of his best contemporaries. The show starts with a room devoted to music as memento mori but the mood lightens with pictures that represent a spirit of shared joy. Dutch artists such as Gerrit Dou offer paintings of peculiar intimacy.

With the room of Vermeers you step up a gear, seeing how he fits in with the art of his time but also how he transcends it: you can spend hours examining the light falling on the viola da gamba in The Music Lesson. (020 7747 2885; nationalgallery.org.uk) to 8 Sept