Re-opened Lakenhal museum, art and history


Susanna van Steenwijk, Leiden Lakenhal, 1642

On 9 August 2019, again to the recently re-opened Lakenhal museum in Leiden.

Like during our earlier visit, first to hall #1, where this 1642 painting by Susanna van Steenwijk, depicting the Lakenhal, hangs.

Then, we went to the film hall, to see a documentary on the reconstruction of the museum.

We went to the first floor. The exhibits there are about the history of Leiden city. Especially about the 17th century Leiden textile industry. Then, the Lakenhal was not yet a museum, but a quality control building for the textile business.

On the first floor, various paintings by Isaac Claesz van Swanenburg (1537 – 1614), depicting the Leiden textile industry.

Isaac Claesz. van Swanenburg, Spinning and weaving in the Leiden textile industry

This painting depicts women spinning and weaving. The work of art is a whitewash. Van Swanenburg depicted women workers as ladies wearing fine expensive clothes. In another painting, he depicted male workers as gentlemen in expensive attire, including big ruff collars which made working basically impossible. In reality, textile work was in sweatshops. Male workers got low wages. Female workers even lower wages. And six-year-old child labourers hardly any wages.

Van Swanenburg’s whitewash is not that surprising: he was not only a visual artist, but also the mayor of Leiden.

On the second floor was art from the nineteenth century and later.

There was a hall with paintings by Leiden artist Alexander Hugo Bakker Korff (1824-1882), and also his paintbox.

Other second floor halls showed later 19th and 20th-century artists, most with connections to Leiden. Like Theo van Doesburg, who founded the early 20th century artistic De Stijl movement in Leiden.

On the staircase, poems by, eg, Henriette Roland Holst and Hans Lodeizen.

Lakenhal museum, Lucas van Leyden, Rembrandt, Wolkers


This June 2019 Dutch video shows a preview of the Lakenhal museum in Leiden, the Netherlands, before it officially re-opened after years of reconstruction.

It shows especially exhibition hall #3, about the 16th century. We went there on 30 July 2019, after we had seen halls one and two. At the end of hall #2 was a big window with a fine view of the city, especially eighteenth-century windmill De Valk.

This video is about returning the most famous painting in hall #3, the Last Judgment by Lucas van Leyden, from its temporary stay in the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum during the Lakenhal reconstruction, to Leiden.

This 2011 video is about a Lucas van Leyden exhibition in the Lakenhal before the reconstruction.

The hall includes an anonymous 1530-1535 painting about the life of Saint Anthony. Some interesting details: an owl near the underside. And one of the devils tormenting the saint has a nun’s headgear on; which may be hinting at criticism of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

These two videos are about the restoration of the 1515-1517 The Crucifixion of Christ, by Cornelis Engebrechtsz. Engebrechtsz is the most represented sixteenth-century Leiden painter in the third hall.

There is also work by one of Engebrechtsz pupils, Aertgen van Leyden. Rembrandt owned several of his paintings.

There were also sixteenth-century drinking vessels in this hall.

After hall #3, halls 4 to 6, were about the 17th century; the age of Rembrandt, born in Leiden.

This June 2019 Dutch video shows a visit by a distant relative of Rembrandt to the reconstructed Lakenhal, to see the Rembrandt paintings there.

This June 2019 Dutch video shows a visit to a glasses shop, to talk about Rembrandt’s painting, present in the Lakenhal, The salesman of spectacles.

Rembrandt, Historical painting

This is the other Rembrandt now present in the Lakenhal: a painting about history; we don’t know exactly what history. Behind the sceptre of the depicted king, Rembrandt, then twenty years old, made an inconspicuous self-portrait.

After the exhibition halls about the seventeenth century, there was a corridor with art by Jan Wolkers. Wolkers (1925-2007) is famous as an author, sculptor and painter. In this corridor, there was one small figurative sculpure, depicting Leda and the swan; and abstract reliefs and paintings.

This October 2017 video is about the Lakenhal acquiring artworks by Jan Wolkers.

Facebook censors photography museum


At the Inland Sea, Japan, by Ed van der Elsken

This 1960 photo is At the Inland Sea, Japan, by famous Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken. It used to be on the Facebook page of the Dutch photography museum. Until Facebook censored it; along with all photos of the museum. One of many cases of Facebook censorship: from a photo showing Vietnamese children burnt by United States napalm to whistleblowing on war crimes to criticism of Donald Trump’s xenophobia. Meanwhile, the Dutch Hitler-worshiping nazis of the Nederlandse Volks-Unie are welcome on Facebook.

Translated from Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad today:

Photo museum: Facebook page offline due to nude photo by Van der Elsken

A photo by Ed van der Elsken is supposedly offensive according to the social network. They then took the entire page of the museum offline.

By Chris Koenis

The Facebook page of the Dutch photo museum was taken offline by the social network on Wednesday. One of the works of the world-famous photographer Ed van der Elsken is said to be offensive and therefore contrary to the rules of Facebook. They prohibit the posting of “Naked Material or Sexually Tinted Content.”

That photo, entitled At the Inland Sea, Japan is part of the exhibition Lust for life in the Rotterdam museum. The photo was used on the museum’s Facebook page to promote that exhibition.

Museum director Birgit Donker is indignant about Facebook‘s action. “This is a beautiful work of art that is censored by Facebook. That is contrary to their own rules. ”When the museum discovered on Wednesday that the page was ‘grayed out’, the museum reported the matter, but received no response at first.

More and more art offline

Thursday morning, a Facebook spokesperson at last contacted the museum and the corporation said that it would reconsider the decision. Until then, the Facebook page is inaccessible. That Facebook message in which Van der Elsken’s photo could be seen was not placed as an advertisement but as a regular message, the museum says.

Facebook has taken artistic photos offline more often in the past. Last year, eg, the 17th-century painting of the Descent from the Cross by Peter Paul Rubens was removed because Christ -except for his loincloth- is depicted without clothes, just like the famous prehistoric fertility sculpture Venus of Willendorf.

Other social media also sometimes delete messages. Eg, the YouTube channel of the Alkmaar Regional Archive was taken offline in June because there were images from the Second World War on the channel.

YouTube is part of the Google corporation, which does much censorship. Not just at YouTube.

Facebook censors Dutch photographer Thijs Heslenfeld: here.

WHATSAPP IS RADICALIZING THE RIGHT IN BRAZIL Facebook famously bolstered Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 by serving as a force multiplier for wild rumors. But a different culprit (with the same corporate parent) propelled far-right authoritarian Jair Bolsonaro to victory in Brazil’s presidential election last year: WhatsApp. [HuffPost]

Lakenhal museum, reopening and photos


This 18 June 2019 video from Leiden in the Netherlands says about itself:

Museum De Lakenhal | A source of inspiration for everyone

Museum De Lakenhal will open its doors again on 20 June 2019. Following a thorough renovation and restoration, the museum is celebrating the return of the building to the public with a free opening festival from 20 to 23 June.

When the museum is reopened, the famous masterpieces such as ‘The Last Judgement’ (circa 1526-27) by Lucas van Leyden, ‘A Pedlar Selling Spectacles’ (circa 1624) by Rembrandt van Rijn and ‘Counter Composition VII’ (1924) by Theo van Doesburg will be on show in the old restored part of the museum, the ‘Laecken-Halle’. Two photo presentations are being exhibited in the new exhibition halls: still lifes of the restoration and expansion of the museum by Karin Borghouts and artist Marjan Teeuwen’s monumental Destroyed House (Leiden) projects.

This is a 2017-2019 time-lapse video of the reconstruction.

On 30 July 2019, we went to the re-opened museum.

In the first new exhibition hall, there was a seventeenth-century painting about how the Lakenhal looked then: not yet a museum, still a textile business building. But mostly photos by Karen Borghouts.

In this video, Belgian Ms Borghouts talks about how she made photos of the Lakenhal reconstruction from 2016 till 2019.

In the second new hall were photos by Marjan Teeuwen.

About destroyed houses in Amsterdam.

This video is about Marjan Teeuwen’s art about four buildings from about 1900 in Leiden, including a former porn shop, which had to be torn down for the new Lakenhal exhibition halls.

The third place of which Marjan Teeuwen photos showed destroyed buildings in this hall was Gaza.

This 1 January 2017 video says about itself:

Dutch artist Marjan Teeuwen used rubble to rebuild a house in the Gaza Strip. She transformed what was destroyed into an artistic installation.

This 2017 video is also about Ms Teeuwen’s work in Gaza.

Stay tuned, as there will be more on this blog on my Lakenhal visit!