Archive for the ‘Painting’ Category

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


Cat on A Balustrade, perhaps more in tune with modern tastes.

exhibition page:

Vermeer’s ghost

April 16th, 2013

It is true, Vermeer had virtually no impact on his contemporaries and negligent impact (actually none) on the course of art after his death. None of his children were moved to carry on his profession and it is doubtful that he even had a single apprentice although he was well known within the environs of Delft during his lifetime.  Contemporary Dutch paintings that plainly show signs of his manner are fewer than twenty and most of them were produced by moderately-talented, provincial painters known only to well-informed Dutch art historians (e.g. Jacobus Vrel or Cornelis de Man). Michael van Musscher—an enterprising fellow who was able to recycle just about any motif he set his eyes on—did a relaxed remake of Vermeer’s solemn Art of Painting, hardly an event which drives forward the course of art. The more talented Gabriel Metsu painted two works that are clearly inspired by Vermeer, but it wasn’t much of a love affair: Metsu’s career is largely based on skilful makeovers of his contemporaries.

Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864 –1916),  Ida in an Interior with Piano, (1901)

Although Vermeer’s name has been continually associated with the values of modernism, there are exceeding few 19th- or 20th-century artworks that are recognizably inspired by the Delft master, except for forgeries which instead, abound.   Perhaps, Vermeer’s only legacy in modern times in the Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864 –1916) whose Ida in an Interior with Piano, (1901) will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s on 23 May 2013.

Estimated price: £1,000,000-1,500,000.

Personally, Hammershøi is not my cup of tea. More than Vermeer emulations, his melancholic, bourgeoisie interiors seem  to be a modest prelude to the solitude of Edward Hopper’s offices and cinemas. Is £1,000,000 for a Hammershøi  sane? For some reason that escapes me, it is in this market.

Vermeer spinoff

March 12th, 2013

I am not a fanatic about most Vermeer elaborations but I must admit, Devorah Sperber put more brains and time into her endeavor than most. She retooled Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring using 5,024 spools of colored thread arranged in seemingly abstract patterns that suddenly pull into focus when viewed through a circular device resembling a crystal ball (After Vermeer 2). See it here.

Woman in Blue to be restored

March 13th, 2010

The Rijksmuseum has just announced that as a part of an ambitious conservation program Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter will be thoroughly restored.

Other than Vermeer’s masterwork, other pieces will restored and ready for the 2013 reopening of the Rijksmuseum. They include Six burial figures from the T’ang Dynasty, a mahogany period room from 1748 called The Beuning room, and the Silver table ornament by Jamnitzer which is one of the absolute highlights of the museum’s collection of European silversmither.

from the Rijksmuseum website:

As it is flanked in the exhibition room by Vermeer’s two other masterpieces, The Milkmaid and The Little Street, it is even more noticeable that Woman in Blue Reading a Letter is in distinct need of restoration. The coat of varnish has turned yellow, the blue is worn, the uneven layer of paint is peppered with minor irregularities, the retouches have faded, etc. Precisely that which is so appealing in Vermeer’s paintings – i.e. the bright colours and the incidence of light – is now hidden behind an irregular yellowed layer of varnish.

The current state of the Art of Painting

January 5th, 2010

Following the claims (September 2008)  of the heirs of Jaromir Czernin concerning the ownership of  The Art of Painting by Johannes Vermeer, the Kunsthistorische Museum of Vienna has launched a web page to inform those interested in the current state of discussion. Here is the link:


Get background information at the NGA study, The Art of Painting: The Painting’s Afterlife

Get a review of current events at Restitution And Remorse by Natascha Eichinger on the Vienna Review.

Salvador Dali & Vermeer’s Lacemaker

January 2nd, 2010

One of Dalí goals was to “rescue” modern painting.  His figurative mode and obsessive extolling of the Old Masters not only incited fellow Surrealists against him in the 1930s, but also later situated him in a diametric opposition to the avant-garde’s penchant towards abstraction.

Throughout art history, artists had incessantly attempted to grasp form and to reduce it to elementary geometrical volumes. Leonardo always tended to produce eggs Ingres preferred spheres, and Cézanne cubes and cylinders. Dalí claimed that all curved surfaces of the human body have the same geometric spot in common, the one found in this cone with the rounded tip curved toward heaven or toward the earth the rhinoceros horn. After this initial discovery, Dalí surveyed his own images and realized that all of them could be deconstructed to rhinoceros horns.

Dalí also discovered what he termed “latent rhinocerisation” in the works of the Great Masters.  The Lacemaker is a rhinoceros horn (or an assemblage of horns), and the rhinoceros’ actual horn is, in fact, a Lacemaker. The painting triumphs over the living rhinoceros because it is entirely comprised of these animated, spiritualized horns, whereas the rhinoceros wields only the single diminutive horn/Lacemaker on its nose.”

Dalí explained, “Up till now, The Lacemaker has always been considered a very peaceful, very calm painting, but for me, it is possessed by the most violent aesthetic power, to which only the recently discovered antiproton can be compared.”

A copy of  The Lacemaker had hung on the wall of his father’s study and had obsessed Dalí for a number of years. In 1955, he asked permission to enter the Louvre with his paints and canvas to execute a copy of Vermeer’s miniscule masterpiecer.