Hieronymus Bosch painting back to the Netherlands after 450 years


Hieronymus Bosch, the Haywain

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Haywain‘ by Jeroen Bosch for the first time to the Netherlands

Today, 14:19

The Haywain, one of the masterpieces of Dutch painter Hieronymus (Jeroen) Bosch, is coming to the Netherlands. For the first time in 450 years, the triptych is leaving Spain, where it usually hangs in the Prado museum in Madrid.

The painting will remain in the Netherlands for half a year and will this autumn be part of the exhibition From Bosch to Bruegel – Uncovering everyday life in the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam.

500th anniversary of his death

In early January the masterpiece will move to Den Bosch, the birthplace of the painter. There will be until the beginning of May in the North Brabant Museum an exhibition with 20 paintings and 19 drawings by the artist expected, the largest retrospective to date.

The exhibition is the culmination of the National Event Hieronymus Bosch 500 years which will be celebrated in 2016 and will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of the painter.

Everyday scenes

Jeroen Bosch was actually called Hieronymus van Aken. Bosch he used as his artist’s name after the town where he was born and where he painted his masterpieces.

Around 1516 he painted the Haywain, one of the first paintings in art history in which everyday scenes are depicted.

The painting depicted a procession of people behind a hay wagon, a metaphor for materialism. The procession leads directly to hell.

Hieronymus Bosch, the Haywain, detail

In the foreground medieval scenes are depicted with drunken monks, tooth pullers, musicians and gypsies.

Hieronymus Bosch, the Haywain, detail

On the hay wagon sits a couple in love with on each side an angel and a devil.

The Spanish King Philip II bought the triptych in 1570 for his private collection and since then it has never left Spain. According to Museum Boijmans van Beuningen the work of art is in an excellent condition after it was restored some years ago.

Hendrik Willem Mesdag, new watercolour painting discovery


The newly discovered Hendrik Willem Mesdag watercolour painting

Recenly, a very small watercolour painting, five centimeter by three centimeter, was discovered in the national archive in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The newly discovered painting is by Hendrik Willem Mesdag (23 February 1831 – 10 July 1915). He made it in 1854 for his fiancee (later: his wife), Sina van Houten, also a painter.

On the back of the watercolour, Hendrik Willem wrote a poem for Sina.

The poem on the back of the newly discovered Hendrik Willem Mesdag watercolour painting

The words of the poem are (translated):

Thoughts are not subject to laws;
therefore; think of the
maker of this; as often as ye will take up this sheet.

Gron[ingen], July 1854

H W Mesdag

Hendrik Willem Mesdag and Sina van Houten are most famous for painting the very big Panorama Mesdag. So, this very small work is a bit of a surprise.

Saiga antelope and art in Kazakhstan


Drawing attention to the plight of the saiga through local engagement in community art. Photo: Rory McCann

From BirdLife:

Drawing attention to the plight of the Saiga through school mural painting

By Rory McCann, Mon, 15/06/2015 – 12:40

I am here in Kazakhstan to paint a mural depicting the wildlife of the steppe environment, with a particular focus on the Saiga antelope – a comical-looking yet critically endangered species which originally inhabited a vast area of the Eurasian steppe zone. The Saiga population in Kazakhstan has recently suffered severe losses due to a disease outbreak.

On my second day I meet staff of the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK, BirdLife Partner in Kazakhstan), who tell me one of the main issues for Saiga antelope is that they are being poached, especially by individuals in the remote villages of central Kazakhstan.

Our mural will be made in one of these villages, with the aim of boosting the plight of the Saiga. The mural painting team are Zhanna Aksartova – ACBK’s Conservation Education Coordinator, Ekaterina Aksartova – Zhanna’s sister and ecology student, and myself – Rory McCann – a wildlife artist with a background in conservation.

We travel across Kazahkstan to the village where we will paint the mural.  Its location is the village school, a mighty-looking building built by the government 3 years ago. We hope to have the help of the schoolchildren.

We are shown around the school by the school director and the village leader. I am touched and tickled to be given many business-like handshakes by children as young as three years old!

It’s exciting to introduce ourselves and explain our reasons for being there. We talk about the values of preserving native biodiversity and we launch a drawing competition for the students.

We have eight days to paint the mural!

The first brush strokes are always the hardest, but the fear of ruining a perfectly good wall quickly subsides and mural-painting fever takes over!

The days go by and our mural starts to take shape and so does a growing following of budding young artists. By the third day, I can barely move for all the students who are packed around me producing their own drawings based on the mural painting.

Zhanna and Ekaterina chat to the children and get them involved in activities such as making masks and singing songs about the Saiga. The children seem enthralled by the process – exactly the response we were hoping for!

We run a workshop with the younger competition winners – a series of mini drawing challenges, a master class in drawing eyes, and making Saiga gift cards. The competition winners can paint an animal on the mural.

The final day arrives. We must have the mural finished by 5pm in time for the grand opening. The mural has been sectioned off with curtains across the entrance so that our big unveiling can have maximum dramatic impact!  At 4:45 pm, the brushes are put down for the last time, with a big sigh of relief.

At 5pm, we emerge from behind the curtains to a waiting crowd of students, staff and other villagers. A few minutes of prize–giving, tributes and words of thanks, the curtains are pulled back to reveal the finished mural. More than 25 steppe animals and birds are represented on the mural painting.

The hope is that this project can pave the way for ACBK to conduct further outreach and educational projects in this region with a view to improving the status of the Saiga antelope and other species in the surrounding environment.

The enthusiasm and friendliness of the students has really made this experience a rewarding one for me.

The Mural Project was instigated by the Saiga Conservation Alliance, with funding generously given by Zynga via the Wildlife Conservation Network.

Rory McCann worked for two years at BirdLife’s Global Secretariat office in Cambridge.

Nearly 140, 000 of the critically endangered saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica), which lives in the Central Asian steppe, have died suddenly in Kazakhstan, almost half the global population, over a two week period: here.

Great hornbill painting, video


This video from the USA says about itself:

Jane Kim–Painting the Great Hornbill

29 April 2015

Artist Jane Kim discusses painting the Great Hornbill for the Wall of Birds mural at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

See also here.