Flowers, threatened birds on murals


This 2014 video is from Lisse town in the Netherlands. Artist Judith van der Meer made a mural there, depicting flowers. Lisse is a center for bulb flower growing.

And this 2015 video shows Ms van der Meer making a mural depicting flowers and sports people in a tunnel in Teylingen local authority.

And this 2013 video shows Ms van der Meer making a mural depicting flowers, boats and other items at Sassenheim railway station.

Godwit mural

In April 2016, Ms van der Meer finished her mural at the Ridderspoortunnel in Leiden. The part on the photo depicts a black-tailed godwit. The red around the bird on the picture symbolizes that black-tailed godwits are a threatened species. The Ridderspoortunnel mural the biodiversity in the area. It also depicts a garganey, buttercup, green hawker dragonfly, smooth newt and a ruff.

Scottish 17th century lady-in-waiting’s gown discovered off Texel


Painting by Sir Anthony van Dyck, on the occasion of the wedding of William II and Mary Stuart

From Leiden University in the Netherlands:

Texel gown belonged to member of royal court of Queen Henrietta Maria

20 April 2016

Archival research has revealed that the wardrobe discovered near Texel belonged to the royal court of the English Queen Henrietta Maria. In March 1642 the queen was travelling to the Netherlands on a secret mission when one of her baggage ships sank in the Wadden Sea. This discovery was made by cultural historians Nadine Akkerman from Leiden University and Helmer Helmers from the University of Amsterdam.

Divers had found the gown in a shipwreck off Texel in 2014.

The 17th-century dress, photo Kaap Skil museum on Texel

Scottish lady-in-waiting

The now famous silk gown is still remarkably well preserved and is the showpiece of a larger archaeological find near Texel. It probably belonged to Jean Kerr, Countess of Roxburghe (approximately 1585-1643), lady-in-waiting and confidante to Queen Henrietta Maria (1609-1669). There was also a younger lady-in-waiting whose clothes were being transported in the ship, but the more outdated style and size of the gown indicate strongly that it belonged to Kerr, the elder of the two.

Elizabeth Stuart

Cultural historians Nadine Akkerman and Helmer Helmers are experts on the British Royal House of Stuart. Their findings are based on a letter written by Elizabeth Stuart (1596-1662), the Stuart princess who found refuge in The Hague after being exiled from the Kingdom of Bohemia. In this letter to the English diplomat Sir Thomas Roe, dated 17 March 1642, Elizabeth describes how her sister-in-law lost a baggage ship during the crossing. In addition to the clothing of two ladies-in-waiting and their maids, the queen herself lost the chalices from her private chapel in the shipwreck.

A secret mission

The official story behind Henrietta Maria’s trip to the Dutch Republic was one of royal connections: she was delivering her 11-year-old daughter Mary to the court of William II, Prince of Orange and future stadtholder, whom the girl had married the previous year. This was only a ruse, however: her real mission was to sell the crown jewels and use the proceeds to buy weapons. These were essential for King Charles I to take on Parliament in the English Civil War. According to Akkerman and Helmers, the find at Texel represents a tangible reminder of the strong Dutch involvement in this conflict.

Winter Queen

Akkerman, Assistant Professor of Early Modern English Literature at Leiden University, and Helmers, Assistant Professor of Early Modern Dutch Literature and Culture at the University of Amsterdam, were able to solve the mystery of the unknown owner of the gown reasonably quickly. Akkerman: ‘Once Helmer alerted me to the find, it took us about five minutes to unearth the relevant letter, as I remembered transcribing and deciphering it in 2006. We are still finding even more references.’ Akkerman is the editor of the Correspondence of Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia, while Helmers is the author of The Royalist Republic, on Anglo-Dutch relations in this period.

Unnecessary speculation

The mystery and speculation in the Dutch press surrounding the origin of the wardrobe were unnecessary. With the discovery of the family crest, the evidence quickly started pointing towards the Stuarts. Helmers: ‘It’s a pity we weren’t consulted sooner – the puzzle would have been solved much earlier. The archaeological experts have focused primarily on the material side. That’s important, of course, but the historical texts also tell a thrilling story.’

(CvB)

Four stolen Dutch seventeenth-century paintings turn up in Ukraine


Vrouw Wereld, by Jacob Waben

Dutch NOS TV reports today that four out of 24 stolen seventeenth-century paintings, for the return of which Ukrainian extreme right paramilitarists tried to blackmail the Dutch government financially, have been rediscovered in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian secret service refused to say how the paintings turned up and in whose hands they were.

According to Geerdink [director of the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, where the paintings, and much silverware, were stolen from] there has been strong political and diplomatic pressure on Ukraine to find and give back the canvases. The four rediscovered paintings will go via Dutch Public Prosecution back to Hoorn. The museum does not know how much time that will take.

Apparently, the overwhelming No vote in the recent Dutch referendum on the Ukrainian-European Union association treaty helped to increase pressure on the Ukrainian secret police to return at least some paintings.

The four paintings include two paintings by Jacob Waben: Vrouw Wereld (Ms World) and The Return of Jephthah.

The other two paintings are (probably) Farmers’ wedding by Hendrick Boogaert; and Kitchen scene by Floris van Schooten.

Kitchen scene, by Floris van Schooten

Twenty other stolen Westfries Museum paintings are still missing.

Caravaggio, Schalcken paintings rediscovered (?)


This video says about itself:

Baroque Caravaggio Project

17 February 2012

Description of Caravaggio‘s paintings:

Judith Beheading Holofernes

Martyrdom of Saint Matthew

The Seven Works of Mercy

Caravaggio depicted Judith Beheading Holofernes twice. One version is well-known and mentioned in the video. The other version appeared to be lost. Until, maybe, now.

From the BBC today:

Painting thought to be Caravaggio masterpiece found in French loft

A painting that may be by the Italian master Caravaggio and worth £94m ($135m) has been found in the loft of a house in southern France.

It was found in Toulouse two years ago and passed to art expert Eric Turquin, who says it is a version of the 1599 work, Judith Beheading Holofernes.

He said it was discovered by the owners when they investigated a roof leak.

The French government has placed a bar on the work leaving the country for 30 months while tests are carried out.

The work, which depicts the Biblical heroine Judith beheading an Assyrian general,

rather: Babylonian

is thought to have gone missing about 100 years after it was painted.

Another version of it, which was also thought to be lost before its rediscovery in 1950, hangs in Rome’s National Gallery of Ancient Art.

Experts at Paris’ Louvre Museum are examining the work to try to establish its creator, though Turquin said there would “never be a consensus” on who painted it.

If it proves to be genuine, the French Government will be given the first chance to purchase the work.

Caravaggio – whose real name was Michelangelo Merisi – was born in 1571 or 1573 and had a violent and chaotic life, dying in mysterious circumstances at the age of 38.

He pioneered the Baroque painting technique known as chiaroscuro, in which light and shadow are sharply contrasted.

He was famed for starting brawls, often ended up in jail, and even killed a man.

He was allegedly on his way to Rome to seek a pardon when he died, having spent the last few years of his life fleeing justice in southern Italy.

Dutch NOS TV reports today that a 1667 painting by Dutch seventeenth century painter Godfried Schalcken has been found again, after having been lost.

Young woman offering a wafer, by Godfried Schalcken

The painting is called Young woman offering a wafer.

Rembrandt self-portrait exhibition in England


This video says about itself:

20 January 2016

I’m down at the Ulster Museum to see Rembrandt‘s final self portrait before he died aged 63. You could say that these self portraits were the selfies of his day!

This painting represents one of his finest works. It is on a tour of the outer reaches of the UK so that folk unable to travel to London’s National Gallery might have an opportunity to see it. It remains at the Ulster Museum until early February.

Rembrandt (1606–1669) is perhaps the best-loved and most admired painter of the seventeenth century. Born in Leiden, he spent most of his life in Amsterdam, where he worked for a wide circle of wealthy and influential patrons. Rembrandt’s reputation was built on his skill in producing ambitious and dazzling biblical scenes, history paintings and portraits, yet it is through a remarkable series of self-portraits that we feel closest to the painter’s inner thoughts and character.

Rembrandt produced some 80 self-portraits – paintings, drawings and prints- over the course of his 40-year career. No artist before Rembrandt, and only a very few since, have made self-portraiture such a significant part of their life’s work. Self Portrait at the Age of 63, painted in the final year of the artist’s life, is among the very last works he finished. It is a work of sheer virtuosity: proof, if ever it were needed, that with maturity his talent had only become all the more profound.

Self Portrait At The Age Of 63, normally on show at the National Gallery in London, will be the main attraction in a new exhibition at the Ulster Museum.

Anne Stewart, curator of fine art with National Museums Northern Ireland, said: ” One of his most famous self-portraits, this incredible work of art is considered one of his most important and poignant works.

“There is an intensity and pride about the painting, as well as deep pain and sadness. There is a strong sense that this was a self-portrait by someone who knew he was close to the end of his life.”

Some of the Ulster Museum’s own collection of old masters, Dutch paintings from the 17th century will also be on display, including works by Salomon van Ruysdael, Jan Symonsz Pynas, Jan van der Heyden and Nicolaes Maes.

Belfast is the first stop on the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour which aims to bring some of the world’s most famous paintings to a wider audience.

By Philip Norton in Britain:

Facing up to questions of mortality

Saturday 9th April 2016

PHILIP NORTON recommends an intriguing exhibition of a Rembrandt painting

Rembrandt: Self-portrait at the Age of 63
Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal
5/5

VISITING this exhibition is quite the opposite of the dreaded school trip to an art gallery.

No traipsing through room after room of dark brown paintings with ropes to dent curiosity and a monotony of gilt frames captive under spotlights. Just a single picture, in a darkened room, the hessian walls painted with layers of midnight-blue emulsion.

A Rembrandt self-portrait is the last of three paintings to be chosen from the National Gallery’s collection for a mini “masterpiece” tour of the provinces. It began three years ago with Manet’s Execution of Maximilian, followed in 2015 by a Venetian landscape by Canaletto.

The greatest impact of this precisely measured — and privately sponsored — gesture of generosity is the sharp focus lent to the chosen paintings. Seeing the painting alone brings to mind the just-completed work resting on Rembrandt’s easel.

Its restoration of 1967 is still quite evident — there are no layers of smoke and dirt to peer through.

Completed in 1669 it was the last of nearly 40 self-portraits. Much had happened since the round-faced young man of 22 turned into the more determined face of just a year later. By 1634, the painter is clearly enjoying his status with flamboyant velvet beret and a Three Musketeers’ moustache.

This is perhaps Rembrandt’s last carefree self-portrait as by the age of 34, although clearly increasing in stature and painterly confidence, he presents an internalised figure.

Mortality has perhaps become the dominant subject of inquiry.

By the time of this final portrait he was 63 and much has been said about his world-weary look.

It’s true he had suffered much loss. Only his fourth child Titus survived into adulthood. Three previous children were lost to infant illness and their mother Saskia had died from tuberculosis in 1642.

Titus, the subject of a number of Rembrandt’s paintings, was through a complicated arrangement the owner of a company employing Rembrandt. He also died a few months before this self-portrait was completed.

The fatigue of a man who lived beyond his means is evident and it’s true that in 1656 he was forced to sell his prized collection of antiquities to side-step bankruptcy. By 1660, nine years before this last portrait, his house — today the Rembrandt museum in Amsterdam — went too and even his printing press.

These events, until quite recently, shaped our view of the picture. It was thought Rembrandt died in poverty with barely enough money for food and so this painting was seen almost entirely as the reflection of a ruined man.

But it was not the case at all. Historians have since shown he died having built up a second smaller but still significant collection of antiquities and master drawings, enough to fill three rooms of his house. He was never forgotten in his lifetime but was always working and selling pictures.

What was perceived as the look of a ruined man is clearly more a case of acceptance and resignation.

The information panel shows the X-rayed canvas revealing an earlier version in which Rembrandt presented himself in the white beret of the painters studio holding paint brushes.

He had portrayed himself this way before and perhaps most telling, in this final version, is his decision to remove the props.

Rembrandt is no longer the salesman furthering his prospects but a quietly balanced image brimming with the shadows of past certainties. It’s the sort of painting WB Yeats called “the right twigs for an eagle’s nest.”

Runs until May 15, opening times: abbothall.org.uk, then at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, May 21-July 17, opening times: bristolmuseums.org.uk.

Hieronymus Bosch exhibition, tickets available after all


This video is called Human & Animals by Hieronymus Bosch in The Garden of Earthly Delights.

Today, Dutch NOS TV reports about the Hieronymus Bosch exhibition in Den Bosch city. Earlier, it was said all tickets were sold out.

Now, however, tickets are available again.

This was done by having the museum open from 8am till 1am at night, from 22 April till 6 May.

In the night of 7 May-8 May the exhibition will be open all night. The museum calls that ‘The night of the owl’, because Hieronymus Bosch often depicted owls.