More than 15 years ago, the Classical Academy in Groningen was founded with the aim of training contemporary visual artists in the rich figurative tradition of Dutch painters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer. Each year, approximately 15 students graduate after a five-year curriculum. Since 2013, the final exam of the academy has been linked to the Prix de Norvège, founded by the Norwegian-based Dutch collector Egbert Pijfers and consisting of an all-expenses-paid trip to the Norwegian Fjords for two promising graduates. In this way, Pijfers allows new painting and sculpting talents to find inspiration in the impressive nature of Norway.
In 2021, all laureates of the Prix de Norvège traveled to Delft together with Pijfers, to be inspired by the light of Vermeer. They were accompanied by Rein Pol, jury member of the Prix de Norvège and lecturer at the academy, and celebrated still life painter Henk Helmantel. As a result of this domestic trip, new work was created, which was exhibited in September and October in the Vermeer Center Delft and the Oude Kerk Delft.