Caravaggio's Boy Bitten by a Lizard, on loan from the National Gallery London, will go on display in the Prince William V Gallery
in The Hague from 11 October to 8 December 2013.
The work is the first in a series of masterpieces on loan from a number of international museums that will be shown in the gallery. The display, Caravaggio in the Gallery, provides a unique and limited opportunity to see this masterpiece by Caravaggio (1571-1610) in the Netherlands, where there are no paintings by the artist in any Dutch museumcollection.
The Prince William V Gallery is a hidden gem in The Hagues historic centre. First built in 1774 by Stadholder William V, Prince of Orange-Nassau to display his painting collection, it was the first public collection of paintings in the Netherlands. The majority of William Vs collection was brought to the Mauritshuis in 1822, and the gallery has recently been refurbished as a museum. Restored to its former glory, nearly 150 old masters from the Mauritshuiss collection, including Jan Steen, Peter Paul Rubens and Paulus Potter, now hang side by side once again. As was customary in the eighteenth century, paintings are hung floor to ceiling and crystal chandeliers, silk wall coverings and lavish curtains enhance the princely atmosphere.
Caravaggios raw realism, dramatic contrasts of light and shade and naturalistic colours that are evident in Boy Bitten by a Lizard made a great impression in Rome shortly after 1600. His new, striking manner of painting and lifelike depictions quickly became popular and influential across Europe, including in the Netherlands. The term Caravaggism denotes the international art historical movement of artists directly influenced by his work. Accordingly, two examples of Caravaggism by Rubens and Gerard Van Honthorst from the Mauritshuiss collectionwhich is currently on loan to Dutch and Flemish museums and on an international tour during the museums current major restorationwill be hung alongside Caravaggios painting during the display Caravaggio in the Gallery.