The Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA) is closed in the coming years due to renovation works. Paul Huvenne (Director, KMSKA) and Arnoud Odding (Director, Rijksmuseum Twenthe (RMT)) have taken this opportunity to enter into a long-term collaboration. In the span of fourteen months, RMT presents three exhibitions around the special partial collections from the KMSKA. Successively, until the end of 2014 are the following: Permeke and the Flemish Expressionists (already completed), Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens-The Flemish Baroque (6 April 2014 thru 28 September 2014) and Jan van Eyck and the Discovery of the World (14 September 2014 thru 4 January 2015). A large portion of the works has never been able to be seen in Holland.
BAROQUE FROM THE SOUTHERN NETHERLANDS
Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens-The Flemish Baroque, with more than fifty paintings and a couple of dozen prints, sheds light on the meaning, the workings and the impact of the 17th-century art such as was produced in Flanders.
The clichés regarding the Flemish Baroque that exist are not without reason. The imposing masterpieces of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) fulfill the reigning summaries about what defined the Flemish Baroque. His convincing, dynamic and emotional painting style allows the viewer to experience and suffer along with Christ and the saints: precisely what the Counterreformation needed after the Iconoclasm.
The ingeniously thought-out image programmes with mythological or allegorical themes and impressive portraits in turn were to reaffirm the authority of the nobility. With his powerful, energetic and theatrical paintings, Rubens meets the expectations of this sort of patron like no other. His pupil, Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) and his contemporary Jacob Jordaens I (1593-1678) did not subject themselves before him. It is no wonder that these three painters became leaders of the field and still always leave their impression on our conception of the Baroque from the Southern Netherlands. The exhibition in the Rijksmuseum Twenthe provides a unique view of the full breadth of the Baroque from the Southern Netherlands through the masterpieces of Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens in conjunction with showing the paintings and prints of contemporaries that were produced for a new market: the well-heeled citizens of Antwerp.
In addition to the Church and the nobility, there came about a new sort of art buyer in the 17th Century: the wealthy citizen. For the first time in Western history, the Antwerp artists thus produced works for the free market. New genres were brought to life, such as the landscape, still life and genre painting. Art became big business. However, the message behind many of these works was still permeated by a deep, Christian morale. The salvation of the Soul is a recurring theme.
By means of thematic halls, this exhibition takes the visitor along to the Antwerp of the 17th Century. In addition to large altarpieces and mythological paintings, intimate paintings from citizens' private homes receive their place, such as moving family portraits, devotional prints and still lives, as a memento to the transitory nature of existence. The evocation of a 17th-century art chamber, filled from the floor to the ceiling with paintings, completes the picture. However, the last word is for Rubens himself.
Rubens, Van Dyck , Jordaens - The Flemish Baroque
From 6 April through 28 September
(News item 27 March 2014)