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14 October 2017DUTCH MASTERS - Treasures of the Tsars
13 May 2017At the Heart of Italian Renaisance Rijksmuseum Twente in Enschede
22 April 2017Jean-Antoine Watteau at the Teylers Museum in Haarlem
12 March 2017Peredvizhniki - Russian Realism around Repin 1870-1900 at the Drents Museum, Assen
25 February 2017From Romanov to Revolution: The end of a Dynasty in the Hermitage in Amsterdam
21 January 2017Master pieces from the Szépmüvészeti Museum Budapest in the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem
10 December 2016"A World of Feathers" in the Volkenkunde Museum, Leiden
20 November 2016"At Home in Holland" at the Mauritshuis in Den Haag
08 October 2016Catherine at the Hermitage
22 May 2016Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht
16 April 2016The Mayas - Rulers of the Rainforest, Drents Museum, Assen at 12.15
19 March 2016Hermitage, Amsterdam at 11.30 hours
20 February 2016Louwman Museum, The Hague at 10.30 hours
24 January 2016Emperor Constantine's Dream, Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam.
12 December 2015"Asia in Amsterdam"
21 November 2015The Glasgow Boys - Drents Museum, Assen
23 May 2015Kubota's kimonos in the Siebold Museum in Leiden
26 April 2015The Frick Collection New York - now in the Mauritshuis
21 March 2015Geisha
21 February 2015Mark Rothko
24 January 2015Rivals at The Hague Court
13 December 2014Dining with the Tsars
23 November 2014Raoul Dufy
30 October 2014Candlelight Tour of Kasteel Duivenvoorde
18 May 2014Huygens Museum Hofwijck
12 April 2014Museum Willet-Holthuysen
15 March 2014The Escher Collection
23 February 2014Bredius Museum
25 January 2014Petra, Desert Wonder

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DUTCH MASTERS - Treasures of the Tsars
Saturday 14 October 2017

Sometimes in life one can get overcome by envy, for a Nano second or so yesterday ́s visit to the exhibition of Dutch 17th century painters previously collected by the Russian tsars and now property of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg evoked such a feeling.

To have been able to look at these masterpieces every day must have been an absolute joy well my heart was brimming with joy, how cleverly depicted they all were, such craftsmanship, such delicate brushstrokes, the colours, the light effects and the storytelling well I was overwhelmed and so I am sure were the rest of the participants.

The Arts Society The Hague had a great start to our Special Events Season. Our two excellent guides Paulette and Anna, were very good in explaining the stories and theories by art experts e.g. in the case of the first Rembrandt painting we saw “Young Woman Trying Earrings, were we looking at Saskia as a fairly wealthy spouse to the painter? or at a young woman working in a brothel? well it really did not matter it was one of those works one would want to stick in one ́s handbag take it home and treasure forever.

Rembrandt was well represented, the portrait of Saskia as “Flora” has the same effect on one as Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” – what a painting the dress suggests that Saskia is pregnant, which she wasn’t, her flower covered head could have been inspired by Arcimboldo, the beautifully designed dress was a Rembrandt creation.

We all know, Rembrandt’s first pupil Gerard Dou turned into the leading fine painter of Leiden, with genres to die for, what I didn’t know and I believe others with me was that he had also produced a series of three nudes, small works, extremely rare - one male and two females, this little collection was highly favoured by Catherine the Great and she spent a fortune in order to add these to her private museum.

One other sought after Dutch 17th century painter was Philips Wouverman, he was the expert on painting horses and during his lifetime and the century after his works would be much in demand and sold for more than those of Rembrandt. We were lucky to be able to see one of his works, an exquisite painting called “The Hunters are leaving” the people gathered at the shore are depicted in a delicate way with cleverly whitened areas on clothing or hat feathers to enliven the general view and brilliantly executed atmospheric tones gives a serene impression.

One large painting by Bartholomeus v.d. Helst, the elite painter of Amsterdam, was an ode to his wife, in fact there were several genres to be discovered in this painting, a genre painting, still life, cityscape and portrait. The title is “Nieuw Markt Amsterdam”.

Gerard ter Borch’s “The Glass of Lemonade” is not as innocent as it looks, The old woman is keen to get her money share of this little “Romantic arrangement” !!!

Lucas van Leyden’s triptych was very fascinating to see and so was Frans Hals’ portrait of very self-assured male, well one could almost accuse him of being “Stuck-up”. But then Frans Hals was of course the portraitist of the Golden Era.

D’Hondecoeter’s birds were as always exquisite, the feathers so well depicted.

By Paulus Potter was a rather shocking art work called “The punishment of the Hunter” also reproduced on two enormous Russian vases.

A lot more could be mentioned but alas no room for more. The visit was really worth the while and I highly recommend you to go if you haven’t been yet.

Having fed our eyes, hearts and emotions it was time for some other nourishment- so off to the restaurant for a well-deserved lunch.