This spring, Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, will present The Golden Age of Dutch Painting: Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum. The first major exhibition of Dutch art in the Gulf region, Golden Age will be on view from March 11 June 6, 2011 in the temporary exhibition hall of the Museum of Islamic Art
. The exhibition will feature 44 major paintings from the Rijksmuseums collection, illustrating 17th century Dutch society, landscape and lifestyle through the eyes of Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals and other Old Masters.
An unprecedented loan exhibition, Golden Age marks the beginning of a cultural collaboration between Qatar and The Netherlands, and furthers QMAs mission to encourage global cultural dialogue and promote intellectual exchange through partnerships with the worlds leading cultural institutions. The exhibition aims to inspire visitors to see similarities between the seemingly different worlds of Holland and Qatar by demonstrating the great impact of a small nation at a time when industry, ideas and culture flourished.
In my study of Dutch art, I have long marvelled at the intriguing parallels between 17th century Holland and 21st century Qatarstriking similarities that one would not immediately realize, said QMA Executive Director Roger Mandle, who curated the exhibition with Rijksmuseum Director of Collections Taco Dibbits. QMA is so proud to bring these masterworks to the Gulf for the first time, to share with our audiences here in Doha and throughout the region.
The Rijksmuseum is proud to present its treasures from the Golden Age in one of the most spectacular new museums in the world, the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, said Taco Dibbits. By building monumental new museums, Qatar demonstrates a clear vision and shows how important art is in our society.
The 17th century was a period of prosperity in the Netherlands, as the small northern European country made remarkable contributions to the fields of exploration and international trade, as well as science, industry and engineering. The arts also flourished, with artists painting historical narratives, landscapes, architecture and still lifes characterized by vivid realism and a close attention to detail.
The exhibition is organized into five sections that explore the profound impact and major themes of Dutch Golden Age painting: Variety and Specialization showcases the diverse genres of Dutch art; Everyday Reality features detailed but imaginary paintings of Dutch cities and landscapes; Rembrandt and His Contemporaries is a tribute to the artists lasting legacy; Refinement and Elegance conveys the social trend, of the time, to flaunt sophistication; and Past and Present features a film that brings Dutch art of the 17th century to the Netherlands of the 21st century.
Golden Age will showcase a number of portraits that exemplify the heights of Dutch painting in the 17th century, including Rembrandt van Rijns Self-Portrait as the Apostle Paul (1661) and Bust of a Man in Oriental Dress (1635); The Serenade (1629) by Judith Leyster, one of the best-known women artists of the 17th century; and Frans Hals lively A Civic Guardsman Holding a Berkenmeier (c. 1628-30), more commonly known as The Merry Drinker.
The exhibition also will feature many lush and detailed still lifes, such as Adriaen van Utrechts Still Life (1644), a bountiful feast for the eyes that shows his skill depicting flora, fauna, fabrics and furnishings. Abraham Mignons mastery in imitating nature is apparent in Still Life with Flowers and a Watch (c. 1670), which includes precise details like water droplets on the foliage and insects on the table.
Scenes of everyday life in the Netherlands on view in Golden Age will include Johannes Vermeers renowned painting The Love Letter (c. 1667-69), which captures a moment of excitement and suspense in a skillfully rendered scene of contrasting shadows and light. The Fishwife (1672) by Adriaen van Ostade shows a market stall in great detail, even including the inviting and engaging manner of the saleswoman.
The Dutch landscape of the 17th century is deftly represented in The Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede (c. 1670), an iconic painting by Jacob Isaacksz van Ruisdael that is dominated by a towering windmill, ominous clouds and dramatic lighting. Aert van der Neers River View in Winter (c. 1655-60) depicts a similar landscape in a different season, with dozens of figures ice skating, ice fishing and riding horse-drawn sleighs on the frozen river.