See largest showcase of Dutch Golden Age masters

By Angel Chan

ABU DHABI 16 February 2019: Louvre Abu Dhabi is presenting ‘Rembrandt, Vermeer and the Dutch Golden Age: Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection and the Musée du Louvre’, until 18th May 2019.

The show opened on Valentine’s Day and constitutes the largest exhibition of Dutch Masters from the 17th century held in the Gulf to date.

This extraordinary assemblage of 95 paintings, drawings, and objects – including more than 20 works from across Rembrandt van Rijn’s career and by his workshop – surveys Rembrandt’s artistic journey in 17th-century Leiden and Amsterdam, as well as his relationships with rivals and peers including Jan Lievens, Ferdinand Bol, Carel Fabritius, Gerrit Dou, Frans van Mieris, Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer.

The Dutch Golden Age was a brief period during the 17th century when the Dutch Republic, newly independent from the Spanish Crown, established itself as a world leader in trade, science, and the arts, and was regarded as the most prosperous state in Europe. Worldwide trade, driven by the Dutch East India Company and Dutch West India Company, gave the Netherlands (the coastal region of northwest Europe) an important advantage throughout Europe and the world. Rembrandt and Vermeer established themselves at the forefront of a new artistic movement characterised by a deep interest in humanity and daily life.

Vemeer’s Works

Among the many highlights in the exhibition are two works by Vermeer, ‘The Lacemaker’ (Musée du Louvre) and ‘Young Woman Seated at a Virginal’ (The Leiden Collection), that were painted on canvas cut from the same bolt. In the exhibition, these have been hung side by side for what is thought to be the first time in 300 years.

Also of special note is the first display at Louvre Abu Dhabi of the museum’s most recent acquisition, Rembrandt’s oil sketch ‘Head of a Young Man, with Clasped Hands: Study of the Figure of Christ’, ca. 1648-56; as well as the first-ever combined display of Rembrandt’s ‘Bust of a Bearded Old Man’ (The Leiden Collection) with the special carrying case commissioned for it by a previous owner of the painting, Andrew W. Mellon, the eminent early 20th-century financier and philanthropist.

Dutch Golden Age

The exhibition is organised by Louvre Abu Dhabi, The Leiden Collection, the Musée du Louvre and Agence France-Muséums. It is drawn primarily from The Leiden Collection, one of the largest and most significant private collections of artworks from the Dutch Golden Age, interspersed with masterpieces from the Musée du Louvre’s exceptional Dutch collection. Loans from the Rijksmuseum and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France complete the presentation.

The curators of Rembrandt, Vermeer and the Dutch Golden Age are Blaise Ducos, Chief Curator of Dutch and Flemish Paintings at the Musée du Louvre, and Lara Yeager-Crasselt, Curator of The Leiden Collection and a specialist in 17th-century Dutch and Flemish art.

Dubai Gazette