Parade: Rembrandt, Mozart. But colonialism is NOT art

This video is called The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn (Part I).

And here is Part II.

Every year, in the Dutch city of Leiden, there is a celebration on 3 October, because on that day in 1574, the Spanish army discontinued the siege of the city.

Hundreds of thousands of people come for the various festive events.

One of those is a big parade.

This year, the theme of the parade was: Between art and kitsch.

So, many parade participants were dressed up as artists.

Or as figures from paintings.

Or from pieces of music.

The two central figures of the parade were painter Rembrandt, born (about) four hundred years ago in Leiden; and the composer Mozart (see also here), born two hundred fifty years ago.

So, parade participants depicted paintings by Rembrandt, like the Night Watch, and the Anatomical Lesson.

Also a painting by Rembrandt’s colleague Frans Hals, Malle Babbe.

In the parade, after the paintings, came musical pieces by Mozart; then, sculpture.

The first part of the parade was not about art.

It probably aimed at putting Rembrandt in his seventeenth century society context, in itself not a bad idea.

However, how this idea was put into practice in the parade and the official program booklet, was questionable.

The first part of the parade was dedicated to the Dutch East Indies Company, founded at about the time of Rembrandt’s birth.

Neither the booklet nor the parade mentioned that that company, in its quest for profits, had killed many people in Asia (eg, on the spice islands of Banda in Indonesia, most people were massacred, the rest sold as slaves).

The booklet said the East Indies Company might be seen as a predecessor to today’s multinational corporations: shares of it were sold, etc.

In a sense, this might be true. But especially if one mentions the behaviour of corporations like Halliburton and its links to Iraq war atrocities; Enron and its scams; etc.

The booklet did not have a single critical remark in this sense.

The part of the parade, immediately after the East Indies Company part, was about Dutch seventeenth century warriors of the seas, like Piet Hein and Michiel de Ruyter.

At least, here the booklet remarked that, while some people may consider those sailors heroes, others might consider them pirates.

Rembrandt painting authentication here.

3 thoughts on “Parade: Rembrandt, Mozart. But colonialism is NOT art

  1. From Dutch press agency ANP: 24 Dec 2005

    AMSTERDAM – Rembrandt House museum has discovered a new painting by Rembrandt.

    It is a portrait of Rembrandt’s son Titus.

    Previously, it was thought it was by one of Rembrandt’s pupils.

    Director Ed de Heer of Rembrandt House said this this Saturday in the radio program Café Vondel of BNR News Radio.

    People will be able to see the portrait during the exhibition ‘Rembrandt, zoektocht van een genie’, which Rembrandt House organizes for the Rembrandt year.

    In 2006, it will be four hundred years ago that Rembrandt was born in Leiden.


  2. Pingback: Mozart-Salieri cantata, rediscovered, played for first time | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Berlin Mozart opera purists vs. director. Severed heads missing | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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