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Louvre Abu Dhabi

Blouin Art + Auction, April 2019, highlighting the exhibition at the Louvre Abu Dhabi

Rembrandt, Vermeer and the Dutch Golden Age. Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection and the Musée du Louvre

 

This exhibition presents 95 objects, drawn largely from The Leiden Collection, with important works from the Musée du Louvre, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and the Rijksmuseum, set against the rich backdrop of cultural exchange, exploration, and discovery that took place during the Golden Age of the Dutch Republic. The exhibition highlights the artistic dialogues that occurred in the Netherlands during the seventeenth century, focusing upon the extraordinary works of Rembrandt van Rijn, from his youth in Leiden to his mature period in Amsterdam, and including portraiture, history painting, and oil sketches. Artworks in The Leiden Collection by Rembrandt’s teacher Pieter Lastman, his friend and rival Jan Lievens, and his pupils Ferdinand Bol, Carel Fabritius, and Arent de Gelder, further elucidate the master’s remarkable career.

In parallel, the exhibition explores the school of “fine painting” (fijnschilderij) popularized by Gerrit Dou and his pupil Frans van Mieris the Elder in Leiden. The fijnschilders were known for their meticulously rendered scenes of daily life, which were collected by patrons across Europe. Highlights from the Musée du Louvre, including Dou’s Self-portrait with a palette in a niche (ca. 1660–65) and Van Mieris’s Woman at her toilet (1678), complement a selection of artworks by the fijnschilders from The Leiden Collection.

Two remarkable canvases by Johannes Vermeer, Young Woman Seated at a Virginal (ca. 1670–72, The Leiden Collection) and The Lacemaker (ca. 1669–70, Musée du Louvre) are also exhibited next to each other for the first time, highlighting a recent discovery that the two artworks were painted on canvas cut from the same bolt. Such dialogues also illuminate the connections between the collections, and the spirit of exchange that guides the exhibition.

Photographs of the exhibition by Ismail Noor / Seeing Things.

The Catalogue

A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue accompanies Rembrandt, Vermeer and the Dutch Golden Age. Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection and the Musée du Louvre.

The catalogue contains a Foreword by Thomas S. Kaplan, and essays by Lara Yeager-Crasselt, Curator of The Leiden Collection, Blaise Ducos, Chief Curator of Dutch and Flemish Paintings at the Musée du Louvre, Jan Blanc, Professor of Modern Art History, Dean of the Arts Faculty at the University of Geneva, and Olivia Savatier Sjöholm, Curator of the Northern Schools of the Prints and Drawings Department at the Musée du Louvre. Also included are 95 color illustrations and a bibliography. The catalogue is available in English, French, and Arabic.

Artwork from The Leiden Collection in the Exhibition

At the Heart of the Dutch Golden Age

The burst of artistic creativity that characterizes the Dutch Golden Age was tied to the Netherlands’ prosperity as a leader in world trade during the seventeenth-century. The trade relationships secured by the two shipping companies, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and the Dutch West India Company (WIC), enabled the Netherlands to establish itself as a leader in the world’s economy. This pervasive interest in trade is evident in the artistic output of the period, such as in Pieter van der Werff’s Portrait of a Boy with a Miniature Three-Master. Also included in this section is a remarkable seventeenth-century ship model from the Rijksmuseum. In addition, marble busts of Cornelis Witsen, Mayor of Amsterdam, and his wife, Catharina Gaeff Opsy by Artus Quellinus (1658, Musée du Louvre), Cornelis van Bellekin’s nautilus shell engraved with scenes of Bacchus and Diana bathing (ca. 1660–80, Musée du Louvre), and Rembrandt’s engraving of a shell (1650, Musée du Louvre), further demonstrate the cultural significance of trade.

Pieter van der Werff Portrait of a Boy with a Miniature Three-Master
Artist Pieter van der Werff (Kralingen 1665 – 1722 Rotterdam)
Artwork title
Portrait of a Boy with a Miniature Three-Master, 1696
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York

Extraordinary Beginnings: Rembrandt van Rijn in Leiden

Born in the university city of Leiden in 1606, Rembrandt began his artistic training in the city of his birth. He spent six highly formative months with the Amsterdam history painter Pieter Lastman. Rembrandt’s competition with fellow Leiden artist, friend, and rival, Jan Lievens, served as an equally powerful force in shaping his early artistic development. Artists such as the Utrecht Caravaggist Hendrick ter Brugghen, who introduced new ways of depicting light and shadow, also influenced both Rembrandt and Lievens.

Isaac de Jouderville Portrait of Rembrandt in Oriental Dress

Rembrandt's Teacher

The Earliest Paintings: Allegory of the Senses

Inspiration and Competition

Artist Isaac de Jouderville (Leiden ca. 1612 – 1648 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Portrait of Rembrandt in Oriental Dress, ca. 1631
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Pieter Lastman (Amsterdam 1583 – 1633 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
David Gives Uriah a Letter for Joab, 1619
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Three Musicians (Allegory of Hearing), ca. 1624-25
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Unconscious Patient (Allegory of Smell), ca. 1624–25
Medium
oil on panel, inset into an eighteenth-century panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Stone Operation (Allegory of Touch), ca. 1624–25
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Lievens (Leiden 1607 – 1674 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Boy in a Cape and Turban (Portrait of Prince Rupert of the Palatinate), ca. 1631
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Lievens (Leiden 1607 – 1674 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Self-Portrait, ca. 1629–30
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Lievens (Leiden 1607 – 1674 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Card Players, ca. 1625
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Lievens (Leiden 1607 – 1674 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Bookkeeper at His Desk, ca. 1627
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Hendrick ter Brugghen (The Hague 1588 – 1629 Utrecht)
Artwork title
Allegory of Faith, ca. 1626
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York

The Center of the Golden Age: Rembrandt in Amsterdam

In 1631, Rembrandt left Leiden for Amsterdam, where he entered the workshop of art dealer Hendrick van Uylenburgh, and began to receive portrait commissions from Amsterdam’s elite. The portraits in The Leiden Collection evince Rembrandt’s efforts to distinguish himself through a heightened sense of naturalism and immediacy in depicting the human figure. Rembrandt’s tronies (character or head studies) show the artist’s interest in capturing the physiognomy and emotion of his subjects. Rembrandt aspired to master the most esteemed among the genres: history painting. His monumental Minerva in Her Study (1635) reflects this aspiration. Rembrandt’s pursuit of portraiture and history painting proved highly influential to his pupils in Amsterdam, including Ferdinand Bol, Carel Fabritius, and Arent de Gelder.

Rembrandt van Rijn Self-Portrait with Shaded Eyes

Portraiture

Tronies and Oil Studies

Minerva in Her Study

Young Lion Resting

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Rembrandt's Circle and the Dialogue of Innovation

Late Rembrandt

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Young Lion Resting

The poignancy and expressiveness of Young Lion Resting indicates that Rembrandt drew the animal from first-hand observation. The artist likely encountered North African lions when they were kept in menageries and shown at fairs, having been brought to the Netherlands via trade ships.

Late Rembrandt

Rembrandt painted this compelling portrait in 1660, and it is the first work from Rembrandt's late career to enter The Leiden Collection.
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Self-Portrait with Shaded Eyes, 1634
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Portrait of a Man in a Red Coat, 1633
Medium
oil on oval panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Portrait of Petronella Buys (1605–1670), 1635
Medium
oil on oval panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn and Workshop (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Portrait of Antonie Coopal, 1635
Medium
oil on Brazilian chestnut (sucupira)
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Young Girl in a Gold-Trimmed Cloak, 1632
Medium
oil on oval panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Bust of a Bearded Old Man, 1633
Medium
oil on paper, mounted on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Head of a Girl, ca. 1645
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Study of a Woman in a White Cap, ca. 1640
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Portrait of an Old Man (Possibly a Rabbi), ca. 1645
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Minerva in Her Study, 1635
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Young Lion Resting, ca. 1638–42
Medium
black chalk, white chalk heightening, and gray wash, on brown laid paper
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn and Workshop (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Man with a Sword, 1644
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Ferdinand Bol (Dordrecht 1616 – 1680 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Self-Portrait, Behind a Parapet, 1648
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Ferdinand Bol (Dordrecht 1616 – 1680 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Man with a Fur-Trimmed Hat, ca. 1646–48
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Ferdinand Bol (Dordrecht 1616 – 1680 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Angel Appearing to Elijah, ca. 1642
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Carel Fabritius (Middenbeemster 1622 – 1654 Delft)
Artwork title
Hagar and the Angel, ca. 1645
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Arent de Gelder (Dordrecht 1645 – 1727 Dordrecht)
Artwork title
Old Testament Figure, Probably King Solomon, ca. 1685–90
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Portrait of a Seated Woman with Her Hands Clasped, 1660
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York

Fine Painting in Leiden: Gerrit Dou, Frans van Mieris, and their Contemporaries

Gerrit Dou, Rembrandt’s first pupil, developed a technique known as fijnschilderij, or fine painting, referring to small-scale paintings rendered with a keen attention to detail through precise brushstrokes. Dou’s inventive, illusionistic compositions inspired his pupil, Frans van Mieris, and influenced numerous contemporaries, including Michiel van Musscher, Godefridus Schalcken, and Jacob Toorenvliet.

Attributed to Gerrit Dou Self-Portrait (?) at an Easel

Elegance and Virtue

Dou's Posterity: Godefridus Schalcken

Bridging History and Genre Painting

Artist Attributed to Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Self-Portrait (?) at an Easel, ca. 1628–29
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Scholar Sharpening His Quill, ca. 1632-35
Medium
oil on oval panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Scholar Interrupted at His Writing, ca. 1635
Medium
oil on oval panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Michiel van Musscher (Rotterdam 1645 – 1705 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Portrait of the Artist in His Studio, 1673
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans van Mieris (Leiden 1635 – 1681 Leiden)
Artwork title
“Self-Portrait” with a Plumed Beret, 1668
Medium
oil on oval panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Goat in a Landscape, ca. 1660–65
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Cat Crouching on the Ledge of an Artist’s Atelier, 1657
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans van Mieris (Leiden 1635 – 1681 Leiden)
Artwork title
Traveler at Rest, ca. 1657
Medium
oil on copper
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Herring Seller and Boy, ca. 1664
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Portrait of Dirck van Beresteyn, ca. 1652
Medium
oil on silver-copper alloy, oval
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Caspar Netscher (Prague or Heidelberg ca. 1639 – 1684 The Hague)
Artwork title
Portrait of Susanna Doublet Huygens, 1669
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Young Woman in a Niche with a Parrot and Cage, ca. 1660–65
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans van Mieris (Leiden 1635 – 1681 Leiden)
Artwork title
Young Woman Feeding a Parrot, 1663
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans van Mieris (Leiden 1635 – 1681 Leiden)
Artwork title
Portrait of a Lady, 1673
Medium
oil on panel with arched top
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Portrait of a Lady, Seated with a Music Book on Her Lap, ca. 1640–44
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Godefridus Schalcken (Made 1643 – 1706 The Hague)
Artwork title
Young Man and Woman Studying a Statue of Venus, by Lamplight, ca. 1688–92
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Godefridus Schalcken (Made 1643 – 1706 The Hague)
Artwork title
Parable of the Lost Piece of Silver, ca. 1675
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans van Mieris (Leiden 1635 – 1681 Leiden)
Artwork title
Death of Lucretia, 1679
Medium
oil on panel with arched top
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Caspar Netscher (Prague or Heidelberg ca. 1639 – 1684 The Hague)
Artwork title
Sarah Leading Hagar to Abraham, 1673
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Caspar Netscher (ca. 1639-1684)
Artwork title
Fortune Teller, ca. 1666-70
Medium
Oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York

Picturing Everyday Life in the Dutch Republic

The popularity of genre painting in the Dutch Republic was the result of a keen artistic interest in the daily lives of its citizens. Artists including Gerard ter Borch, Gabriel Metsu, and Jan Steen represented a variety of quotidian subjects with great naturalism. Over the course of the seventeenth century, artists began to depict more elegant interior scenes that catered to the upper classes. Vermeer’s Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, exhibited at the Louvre Abu Dhabi alongside The Lacemaker from the Musée du Louvre, represents the height of this evolution.

Gabriel Metsu Woman Selling Game from a Stall

The Spiritual Home

Intimacies and Pleasures of Domestic Life

Paintings and Professions in the Dutch Golden Age

Musical Harmonies

Johannes Vermeer

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Beyond Leiden: Expressions of Portriature

Johannes Vermeer

The Leiden Collection's Young Woman Seated at a Virginal is presented in this exhibition with the Musée du Louvre's The Lacemaker. The paintings share a common history, as scientific analysis has demonstrated that the canvases originate from the same bolt of cloth.
Artist Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629 – 1667 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Woman Selling Game from a Stall, ca. 1653–54
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Steen (Leiden 1626 – 1679 Leiden)
Artwork title
Prayer Before the Meal, 1660
Medium
oil on oak panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629 – 1667 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Old Woman at Her Meal in an Interior, ca. 1654–57
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629 – 1667 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Elegant Lady Writing at Her Desk, ca. 1662–64
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629 – 1667 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Young Woman Seated in an Interior, Reading a Letter, ca. 1658–61
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jacob van Loo (Sluis 1614 – 1670 Paris)
Artwork title
Young Man Reading, ca. 1650
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Cornelis de Man (Delft 1621 – 1706 Delft)
Artwork title
Portrait of the Pharmacist Dr. Ysbrand Ysbrandsz. (1634/35–1705) in an Interior, ca. 1667
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jacob Toorenvliet (Leiden 1640 – 1719 Leiden)
Artwork title
Allegory of Painting, ca. 1675–79
Medium
oil on copper
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerard ter Borch the Younger (Zwolle 1617 – 1681 Deventer)
Artwork title
Musical Company, ca. 1642–44
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Eglon van der Neer (Amsterdam 1634/36 – 1703 Düsseldorf)
Artwork title
Lady Playing a Lute in an Interior, 1675
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Johannes Vermeer (Delft 1632 – 1675 Delft)
Artwork title
Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, ca. 1670–72
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans Hals (Antwerp 1582/83 – 1666 Haarlem)
Artwork title
Portrait of Samuel Ampzing, 1630
Medium
oil on copper
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans Hals (Antwerp 1582/83 – 1666 Haarlem)
Artwork title
Portrait of Conradus Viëtor, 1644
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629 – 1667 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Hunter Getting Dressed after Bathing, ca. 1654–56
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist
Artwork title
Self-Portrait with Magic Scene – 2017 Edition, ca. 1635–37
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York

Historical Lessons and Tales of Morality

Within the context of genre scenes, historical subjects, and portraiture, Dutch artists often imbued their artworks with symbolic, and even moralizing meanings. These cautionary tales provide insight into seventeenth-century Dutch social, political, and religious values. In this exhibition, two important examples of Jan Steen’s grand history paintings are joined by Ferdinand Bol’s Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well from the collection of the Musée du Louvre. The artwork was gifted by The Leiden Collection to the Louvre in 2017, on the occasion of the opening of the first Leiden Collection exhibition.

Artist Jan Steen (Leiden 1626 – 1679 Leiden)
Artwork title
Sacrifice of Iphigenia, 1671
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Steen (Leiden 1626 – 1679 Leiden)
Artwork title
Banquet of Anthony and Cleopatra, ca. 1673–75
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
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