Rembrandt, other painting exhibitions in Dutch Leiden


This 14 June 2019 Dutch video with English subtitles says about itself:

An eye for detail

[Art historian] Wieteke van Zeil gives tips to see more during your visit to Museum De Lakenhal.

From the site of Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden, the Netherlands:

Museum De Lakenhal presents: Rembrandt & the Dutch Golden Age

20 June 2019 – 3 October 2019

The galleries of Museum De Lakenhal exhibit leading works from the Golden Age of Leiden’s masters such as Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Jan van Goyen, Jan Steen and the Leiden Fijnschilders (literally ‘fine painters’). This exhibition tells the story of Leiden and the flourishing artists who made it the birthplace of the Dutch Golden Age.

Leiden as birthplace of the Dutch Golden Age

Early 17th century Leiden was the workplace of diverse painters, each of which would prove to be of crucial significance to Dutch Golden Age art. The young Rembrandt and Jan Lievens worked closely together in their formative years as artists and during the time they spent in Leiden, they laid the foundations for an oeuvre that would be of global significance. From the outset, they presented themselves through their paintings and etchings as experimental and inquisitive artists. At the same time, Jan van Goyen and the maritime artist Jan Porcellis were developing as pioneers of Dutch landscape painting. Leiden also gained prominence through painters such as Jan Davidsz de Heem and David Bailly who focused on vanitas still lifes, which dealt with the concept of transience. The masterpieces of these great artists can be admired at the exhibition.

Rembrandt & Leiden’s Fijnschilders

Gerrit Dou was Rembrandt’s most important student. After leaving his mentor for Amsterdam in 1632, he concentrated on extremely finely detailed cabinet paintings. He was inspired by Rembrandt and developed into the founder of the Leidse Fijnschilders movement of artists, who, unlike Rembrandt and Vermeer, managed to acquire international renown during their lifetime. No collection of royal standing was complete without works by Fijnschilders such as Frans van Mieris, Pieter van Slingelandt or Godfried Schalcken. The collection of Fijnschilders at Museum De Lakenhal has recently grown into one of the most important of its kind.

Earliest known works of Rembrandt in the spotlight

The earliest known works of Rembrandt, including A Peddler Selling Spectacles (ca. 1624) and History Painting (1626) are at the heart of the exhibition. A Peddler Selling Spectacles is part of a series portraying the five senses which Rembrandt painted when he was about seventeen. Although Rembrandt is clearly experimenting with technique and perspective, this painting is a sign of the attention to the chiaroscuro and virtuosity of brushstrokes that we would see in Rembrandt’s later works for which he would become famous. History Painting (1626) is an early example of how Rembrandt portrays himself in a painting. In collaboration with the Rijksmuseum, the History Painting has been restored in the Amsterdam museum’s studio, bringing Rembrandt’s colour palette back to its original glory.

Late Golden Age

Leiden paintings of the late Golden Age are characterised by their expressive realism in conjunction with their classical dignity. The most significant representatives of the incipient movement are the Leiden-based painter Jan Steen and the sculptor Pieter Xavery. Their work, which is full of playful humour and folksy caricature, still enjoys huge popularity among a wide public. Like Rembrandt, Jan Steen had the habit of including self-portraits in his paintings. Presumably inspired by Rembrandt. The exhibition shows of Jan Steen’s works in which he incorporates his self-portrait: a self-portrait of the painter with his wife entitled Couple Reading the Bible (ca. 1650) and The robbed violonist (ca. 1670-72). Jan Steen was never shied away from portraying himself as a salt-of-the-earth caricature, as shown here as a violin player who is being robbed.

Year Of Rembrandt & the Dutch Golden Age

In 2019 the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt van Rijn’s death will be honoured with numerous events which will be held in The Hague, Leiden, Leeuwarden, Amsterdam and other places. Experience the Netherlands in the era of Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age through the special exhibitions being held at venues such as Museum De Lakenhal, the Fries Museum, The Mauritshuis, The Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam City Archives (Stadsarchief Amsterdam) and the Rijksmuseum.

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Painter Frida Kahlo, first voice recording discovered?


This 13 June 2019 video says about itself:

Frida Kahlo‘s only known voice recording possibly found in Mexico

The National Sound Library of Mexico has unearthed what they believe could be the first known voice recording of Frida Kahlo, taken from a pilot episode of 1955 radio show El Bachiller, which aired after her death in 1954. The episode featured a profile of Kahlo‘s artist husband Diego Rivera. In it, she reads from her essay Portrait of Diego.

German art students protest against neo-fascism


This video from the USA says about itself:

Degenerate Art – 1993, The Nazis vs. Expressionism

This is a documentary from 1993 by David Grubin (written, produced, and directed) about the art exhibit under the Nazi regime of what they considered to be the most corrupting and corrosive examples of what they called ‘Entartete Kunst’ or ‘Degenerate Art‘.

The exhibit, which opened in July of 1937, was meant to be laughed at and despised.

I ran across it in a class on Modernism and Post-Modernism. The film is not generally available at the time of this writing (other than on VHS). Personally, I could think of no better backdrop for the ideas and pathos of expressionist art than Nazi Germany, shown by a great deal of actual footage (most provided by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art — they had an exhibit of their own based on the event that same year).

The music is similarly striking, including Schoenberg, Hindemith, and Wagner. All of the art shown, by the way, is referenced by name in the end credits, which I include.

By Martin Nowak in Germany:

Students at Dresden School of Art protest against the far-right AfD

8 June 2019

Students at the Dresden School of Art (Hochschule für bildende Künste, HfBK) protested last week against the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). The students expressed their opposition to “the creeping acceptance of right-wing content” and demanded that the university management make clear its adherence to the principle of artistic freedom and its opposition to right-wing extremism.

The HfBK, founded in 1764, is one of the oldest and most renowned universities in Germany. Its reputation is inextricably linked to outstanding artists such as Otto Dix, George Grosz, Oskar Kokoschka, Conrad Felixmüller, and other socially committed, antimilitarist, and socialist artists of the early 20th century.

The trigger for the protests was the candidacy of the library director Barbara Lenk for the AfD in a local election in nearby Meissen. Students occupied the library for a day on May 29 and put up banners pointing out the incompatibility of freedom of art and education with the program of the AfD. “HfBK or AfD—you cannot have both,” read one banner hanging from the window of the university.

Other banners drew attention to the long-standing hostility of the AfD and its affiliated Pegida movement towards artists. One of the AfD’s recent election posters demanded: “Not a penny for politically motivated art,” and its state election program makes clear that this refers to all art that does not promote the nationalist, racist, homophobic and other reactionary views of the neofascist party.

The draft of the AfD program states: “Culture must not be a playground for sociocultural clientele politics.” The program draft accuses theatres in the state of Saxony of practicing “a one-sided politically oriented, educational music and speech theatre.” Against this background, the fears of students and the demands they raised are absolutely justified. As it itself proclaims, the AfD is motivated by the fact that many artists and cultural institutions in Dresden have expressed support for cultural tolerance in general and immigrants and refugees specifically, as well as opposition to racism and nationalism.

The protest is not only directed against the far-right views of the AfD. University students fear for their own safety. Dresden student representative Madlyn Sauer told German radio (Deutschlandfunk Kultur) that the library director has “access to the sensitive data of students and employees, via addresses, e-mail addresses, mobile phones. And given that there are a number of politically active students, as well as students from a different cultural background whom the AfD regard as their enemies, we are of course very worried as to whether she can be really trusted with the data.”

After calling a general meeting, 300 students voted to occupy the library. Following discussions with the university management, the occupation ended on the same afternoon. The university management agreed to the demand by students to publicise a declaration by the student council on the HfBK website.

The declaration expressed concern about “movements and opinions which have been developed and promoted in particular in the Free State of Saxony… We cannot leave uncommented events such as those which took place in Chemnitz and the continuous slogans of the (far-right) PEGIDA.” The statement continues, “As more and more links are revealed between the ruling executive in the state and the legislature, we fear restrictions on our freedom and work in this election year.” Elections in Saxony are to be held later this year.

Further talks between the university leadership and students have been agreed. In the meantime, the students have announced further actions, such as flash mobs, video projects, and research into the history of the university during the period of the Nazis, which, much like AfD, attacked what Hitler called “degenerate art”.

Comments expressed by the university rector, Matthias Flügge, make clear, however, that the students at the HfBK face an uphill struggle. The press release by the university leadership stresses its supposed “political neutrality”. Party political commitment on the part of employees is not the concern of the university management unless “it is certain that the party in question is anti-constitutional.” According to Flügge, the head of the university library is “an outstanding employee. On this basis, I stand behind her and will not tolerate bullying.” The fact that Flügge “as a person takes a very different political path is a completely different matter.”

Chancellor Jochen Beißert told Deutschlandfunk that he had made clear in an interview with Barbara Lenk that her candidacy for the AfD candidacy was her right, but that she had to assure her office’s “neutrality and, of course, defend the liberal-democratic constitution.”

In other words, the university administration considers the AfD to be legitimate up until the point that Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the BfV, classifies it as “anti-constitutional”. But the BfV is itself closely involved with far-right networks. This is confirmed by a glimpse at the recently published intelligence agency report for the state of Saxony. The report fails to identify either the AfD or Pegida as far-right organisations. They are only mentioned in the report as the victims of left-wing extremists.

On the other hand, the antifascist punk band Feine Sahne Fischfilet, which played at the “Rock against the Right Wing” concert, following a neo-Nazi march in Chemnitz, is branded in the report as “left-wing extremist”. The secret service report goes so far as to denounce the concert for providing a platform to left-wing extremists.

The right-wing extremist blog Tichy’s Insight, which claims to be directed towards the country’s “liberal-conservative elite” celebrated the stance taken by the leadership of the HfBK. “The rector, the chancellor, and the library commissioner, regardless of their personal political beliefs, all stood behind Lenk,” the fascist publication boasted. The blog then accused students of promoting “ideological terror” and declared that their criticism of the AfD candidacy by the head of the library amounted to “slander, coercion, extortion and, ultimately, defamation.”

The events at the HfBK in Dresden confirm that the AfD and right-wing extremist ideologies are being protected at German universities. The events in Dresden resemble the response to the Trotskyist youth and student organisation, the IYSSE, at Berlin’s Humboldt University after it criticised the right-wing extremist historian Jörg Baberowski. Baberowski, who seeks to relative the crimes of Hitler and the Third Reich and promotes German imperialism, has been sheltered by Humboldt, while the IYSSE has been censured.

Facebook censors leftist anti-Trump artist


This 1 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Lefty Banned From Facebook For Turning MAGA Hats Into Hate Symbols

An artist who redesigns President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hats into recognizable symbols of hate speech says she was banned from Facebook for violating the platform’s standards.

Kate Kretz of Mount Rainier, Md., rips apart the iconic red campaign hat and resews it to look like other symbols, such as a Nazi armband or a Ku Klux Klan hood, WUSA 9 reported.

“The armband is actually titled, ‘Only the Terrorized Own the Right to Name Symbols of Terror,’ and so if people are afraid of people that are walking around with MAGA hats, because they’re afraid of violence,” Kretz said. “It’s not really up to the wearer to say ‘oh you shouldn’t feel afraid of me.'”

Read more here.

Saint George, dragon, scarce swallowtail, flowers


This September 2016 video is called Livadia, Tilos, Greece.

After 26 April 2019, 27 April on Tilos.

That day, we went by bus in the direction of Livadia. But we got out well before Livadia.

St George kills the dragon, 27 April 2019

We went out at Agios Georgios chapel. Named after St George. The photo shows St George killing the dragon and other icons in the chapel.

Saint George. If he ever lived, then he never had anything to do with the two things where he is most famous for: dragons and England (eat your heart out, English nationalists. The cult of St George reached England a thousand years after he is said to have lived. He is said to have been from present day Turkey which English and other white supremacists hate so much).

Holy Virgin, 27 April 2019

These two icons show the Holy Virgin with the child Jesus, and St George on horseback, killing the dragon again.

Outside, a Sardinian warbler and a nightingale sing.

Rock, 27 April 2019

We climbed up a hill along a narrow path. We thought that way we might reach Mikro Chorio deserted village. But the path did not go further then this rock, looking slightly like a baboon‘s head.

Bee-eaters call.

We had to climb down again.

Scarce swallowtail, 27 April 2019

When we nearly back at the main road, we saw this beautiful butterfly.

Scarce swallowtail, on 27 April 2019

It was a scarce swallowtail.

Scarce swallowtail, Tilos, 27 April 2019

Arum dioscoridis, 27 April 2019

Not so far away, this Arum dioscoridis flower.

Flowers, 27 April 2019

And other flowers.

Alma Tadema drawing discovery on flea market


The newly discovered Alma Tadema drawing, photo Fries Museum

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Drawing by Frisian artist Alma Tadema found at flea market

The Fries Museum in Leeuwarden has bought a drawing by Alma Tadema that has been found at a flea market. It is probably a portrait that the Frisian artist made of his niece Sientsje Tadema.

The work was presented to the museum by a Belgian who found it at the flea market in Brussels. He then contacted the Fries Museum.

Curator Marlies Stoter investigated the work and recognized Alma Tadema by the combination of the fine lines and strong pencil lines in the dark parts of the drawing.

Longing women

Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema (1836-1912) is an artist from Dronrijp who emigrated to England after his studies at the art academy in Antwerp. During his studies he regularly made portraits of people from his immediate environment.

In 2016 there was a large exhibition about the artist in the Fries Museum. It mainly showed his images of ancient Roman scenes with longing beautiful women. That was a great success: 158,000 visitors came to it.

The drawing can be seen from April 20 on at the exhibition Collected Work: the rich collection of Friesland, writes regional broadcasting organisation Omrop Fryslân. The museum now has 18 paintings and around 90 works on paper by the artist.

Egyptian pyramid age tomb discovery


This 13 April 2019 video says about itself:

Egypt unveiled a 4,400-year-old tomb on Saturday. The site was discovered in early April in the Saqqara burial site in the Giza Governorate.

The tomb belonged to a Fifth Dynasty nobleman named Khuwy and consisted of chambers and sub-chambers decorated in colourful reliefs and well-preserved inscriptions.

Secretary General of Supreme Council for Egyptian Antiquities Mostafa el-Waziry said archaeologists were able to identify fingerprints of the tomb’s painter.

A group of reportedly 52 foreign ambassadors and cultural attaches, among them Egyptian actress Yousra, accompanied Waziry at the unveiling ceremony.

From AFP news agency, 13 April 2019:

Egypt unveils colourful Fifth Dynasty tomb

In a major archaeological discovery, Egypt on Saturday unveiled the tomb of a Fifth Dynasty official adorned with colourful reliefs and well preserved inscriptions.

The tomb, south of Saqqara, a vast necropolis south of Cairo, belongs to a senior official named Khuwy who is believed to have been a nobleman during the Fifth Dynasty, which ruled over Egypt about 4300 years ago.

“The L-shaped Khuwy tomb starts with a small corridor heading downwards into an antechamber and from there a larger chamber with painted reliefs depicting the tomb owner sitting at an offerings table” said Mohamed Megahed, the excavation team’s head, in an antiquities ministry statement.

Flanked by dozens of ambassadors, antiquities minister Khaled al-Enani said that the tomb was found last month.

It is mostly made of white limestone bricks.

Ornate paintings boast a special green resin throughout and oils used in the burial process, the ministry said.

The tomb’s north wall indicates that its design was inspired by the architectural blueprint of the dynasty’s royal pyramids, the statement added.

The excavation team has unearthed several tombs related to the Fifth Dynasty.

Archaeologists recently found an inscription on a granite column dedicated to Queen Setibhor, who is believed to have been the wife of King Djedkare Isesis, the eighth and penultimate king of the dynasty.