Archive for March, 2014

Vermeer-related lecture

March 30th, 2014

Silence in the Studio: Vermeer and Terborch
by Mariët Westermann
Washington College, Chestertown MD
Hotchkiss Recital Hall, Gibson Center for the Arts – Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 5 p.m.

from the Washington College website:
Celebrated art historian Mariët Westermann, vice president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will explore the technical innovations by Dutch painters of the Golden Age such as Vermeer and Gerard Terborch in a lecture entitled “Silence in the Studio: Vermeer and Terborch.”. The lecture will be given on the occasion of the 11th annual Janson-La Palme Distinguished Lecture in European Art History at Washington College on Wednesday, April 9. The talk will begin at 5 p.m. in Hotchkiss Recital Hall, Gibson Center for the Arts, on the college campus.

A native of Holland, Westermann graduated magna cum laude from Williams College with a degree in history. She later completed her master’s degree and Ph.D. in art history at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts and has written extensively on Dutch painting and Vermeer. Westermann is the author of several acclaimed books, including A Worldly Art: The Dutch Republic 1585-1718 (ranked a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times); The Amusements of Jan Steen: Comic Painting in the 17th Century; Rembrandt: Art and Ideas; and Anthropologies of Art. She also authored Johannes Vermeer 1632-1675 for the Rijksmuseum Dossiers series and served as guest curator of “Art and Home: Dutch Interiors in the Age of Rembrandt” at the Newark Museum and Denver Art Museum

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Click here for Washington College event page.

Italians divided (as usual) by art exhibition

March 9th, 2014
Girl with a pearl Earring exhibition in Bologna, Italy

The arrival of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring in Bologna lends a hand to divide the already historically divided Italians. Alberto Mattioli, who writes for one of Italy’s chief daily papers, La Stampa, puts down in black and white what few Anglo-Saxon journalists would dare in an article about the first day of the exhibit, “‘The Girl’ in Bologna: Here is what the celebrated portrait saw on the debut of the Italian exhibition.”

First, Mattioli paints a bleak portrait of the those “famous 5 million Italians” who “attend art exhibitions and theaters, and read books and newspapers.” The journalist dismisses out of hand the remaining 55 million Italians who instead “ugly themselves watching the most horrible television in the world.” According to Mattioli, one of the main attendants of the exhibition is what he calls the “family from Crema” ( i.e. a typical dumb-money family from a rich provincial town), “super-booked” and overjoyed to attend the spectacle. Between the trip, tickets, tortellini (Bologna’s gastronomic specialty) and catalogue, the “paterfamilias” from Crema will wind up forking up about a thousand euro ($1,400) for the day in Bologna “la grassa” (the rich).

Mattioli’s other targets are the “democratic female school teacher” and the “acculturated retiree” who “just can’t” miss the “latest” exhibition.

Obviously, the people who dared put up such an event receive their share.

Marco Goldin, the organizer the spectacle, is guilty of publically claiming “we could actually sell 300,000 tickets!” Even the guards, who are charged with controlling crowd rage (a malady nowhere more acute than in Italy), are dubbed “buttadentro” (literally “throwins,” a play on the word “buttafuori, ” or guards who mercilessly throw “out” the misbehavers from Italy’s justly maligned discotheques).

Mattioli doesn’t have a hard time rounding up consensus in Italy, where blockbuster art exhibitions have long been the object of disdain Philippe Daverio, a prominent art critic, compares the show to Barbie. Alberto Ronchi, commissioner of cultural affairs of Bologna, is quoted as saying “paintings for an art exhibitions are lent, not rented. We are financing the restoration of a Dutch museum; that’s crazy.” The art critic Vittorio Sgarbi calls the exhibition “useless.”

To round things off neatly, an impromptu poll by Mattioli reveals that seven out of eight Italians in the line for the show had no idea that Raphael’s “iconic” Santa Cecilia is only a few minutes away.

Upcoming Gerrit Dou exhibition

March 9th, 2014

Gerrit Dou: The Leiden Collection from New York
March 9 – August 31, 2014
Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden, Netherlands

Gerrrit Douc, Cat on a Balustrade

Whether history has been just or unjust with Gerrit Dou,  his incredibly meticulous works were sought after far more than Vermeer’s. With the possible exception of Rembrandt, the Lieden-based painter was the most revered and highly paid seventeenth-century Dutch artist. His fame spread throughout Europe, where his paintings were collected by Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, Cosimo III de Medici and other elite patrons. The States General of The Netherlands included some of Dou’s paintings in its gift to Charles II of England at his restoration to the British throne in 1660. His works elicited such admiration that Johan de Bye, one of Dou’s patrons, rented a room near the Leiden town hall where paying viewers could admire 27 of the artist’s works. Since then only one major exhibition has been mounted of artists’ works at the National Gallery (2000), however, whose impact hardly measured against the blockbuster Vermeer exhibition (1995-1996) which some critics consider the greatest art exhibition of all time.

Will Dou ever rival Vermeer again? Whatever your opinion, some of his finest works are on display at the Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden. This exhibition features both a unique view of the stunning oeuvre of this painter (genre scenes and portraits) and recent material-technical research from the Lieden Gallery in New York, which vaunts the largest collection of works by Dou in the world.

Enjoy two high resolutions of Dou’s works:

The Herring Seller with a Boy
http://www.lakenhal.nl/images/persberichten/289/1.jpg

and

Cat on A Balustrade, perhaps more in tune with modern tastes.
http://www.lakenhal.nl/images/persberichten/289/2.jpg

exhibition page:
http://www.lakenhal.nl/persberichtendetail.php?id=289