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