Start spreading the news: one of the most comprehensive exhibitions of Rembrandt and Dutch Golden Age Paintings will be held at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest from the end of October until the middle of February 2015.
“Our collection of the old Dutch Masters of the 17th century, with 500 works, is the largest in Europe outside The Netherlands. And we are proud of it,” says the General Director of the museum, László Baán.
The upcoming exhibition is a joint venture of the Museum of Fine Arts with more than 50 renowned public and private collections in Europe and the U.S., including the Louvre in Paris, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the Uffizi in Florence and the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The major lenders are the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (20 paintings) and the National Museum in Stockholm (30 paintings).
“Altogether, more than 170 paintings from all over the world will be shown here, among them 20 from Rembrandt. Experts in different countries are preparing the exhibition and the catalogue which will include the story of how such a tiny country became a world leader, as well as essays on the historical relations between Hungary and the Netherlands,” Baán explains.
The Golden Age in The Netherlands, the 17th century, was a period of great prosperity, based on rule over the seas and the establishment of the United East Indian Company. A monopoly on trade with most countries in the Far East enabled the Dutch to gather fortunes from which all levels in society benefited.
As László Baán highlights, “the exhibition will be displayed in seven thematic units. To begin with, there will be the historical background showing the naval battles that brought the United Provinces of The Netherlands independence. The second part is the genre of Dutch portraiture with images of the rich and self-confident bourgeoisie, group portraits of various military and professional groups and intimate images of couples and families. All the great masters will be represented by their works such as Frans Hals, Nicolas Eliasz and Johannes Mijtens.”
He adds that the third unit will focus on the riches painted by Pieter Claesz, Willem Heda, Abraham van Beijeren and Willem Kalf; still lifes showing flowers, dinner tables and food and merry guests banqueting in luxurious environments painted by Willem Buytewech, Dirck Hals and Jan Steen. The fourth part of the exhibition will be devoted to religious art in protestant homes and catholic churches. In the fifth unit, the exhibition will focus on Rembrandt and his impact on Dutch art.
There will be 20 paintings by Rembrandt himself and several works by his pupils and followers. Cities and urban life will be the subject of the sixth unit. Wealth that was gathered through maritime industry and trade showed itself in the lifestyle of the Dutch citizens. Every day scenes of churches, markets, stock exchanges, synagogues, town houses and homes by the canals were painted by Pieter Saenredam, Emanuel de Witte, Jan van der Heyden and Gabriel Metsu.
But it is Johannes Vermeer who is known world-wide for his private and intimate images. Last but not least is the section devoted to Dutch landscapes. These real-life works were composed in the atelier, occasionally recorded in drawings, László Baán concludes.
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