On invitation of the Mauritshuis in The Hague, the first museum to show this series, artist and photographer Vik Muniz re-created the backs of five of the museum's most famous works. So if you always wanted to know how Johannes Vermeer's The Girl with a Pearl Earring, or View of Delft's backside look, head immediately to The Hague! Also Rembrandt's Anatomical Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp; Carel Fabritius’ The Goldfinch and View on the island of Itamaracá, Brazil by Frans Post are exposed. Not to mention Starry Night by Van Gogh and the Mona Lisa by Da Vinci. A total of 15 Versos are shown in the exhibition which runs until September 4.

Why? Really

'There is always one side that is illusory and one side to hold that illusion' says Vik Muniz in an interview. 'While the front will always remain the same as when it was created, the back changes continuously and show the stains and scratches form earlier owners, each time it’s been travelling or exhibited’. A bit like pornography, he says, the intimate side of art. This page can not be copied, simply because no one knows about it.
'So when a cousin of mine told me his 7-year old could paint a Picasso, I told him 'probably, but he couldn't do the back,'  jokes Muniz.


Deeply fascinated by the material used for each frame and all the marks, he photographs every millimeter of the back to be able to reproduce it exactly in 3D. A whole team, led by Barry Frier, is working to produce a back, a verso. Sometimes it takes several years.
A work of art is three-dimensional. The photograph is two-dimensional. What Vik Muniz does, is a kind of metamorphosis back to the original three dimensions.

Ironically, Muniz in this way takes the most unknown, eternal and unique side of art and makes it easily accessible to the broad masses.

Vik Muniz makes art of the backside. Here Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer and The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius Vik Muniz' Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer and The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius Photo: Mauritshuis; Ivo Hoekstra; Margareta Svensson margaretasvensson.nl Sources: Mauritshuis, vikmuniz.net. volkskrant.nl, wikipedia.org