{Dutch Treat} ~ Vancouver

While vacationing in Vancouver, Alison and I attended the exhibition Vermeer, Rembrandt and the Golden Age of Dutch Art: Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum The exhibition contained the very famous Vermeer painting The Letter and a replica of a camera obscura, which Vermeer is said to have used in such paintings. The camera obscura allowed him to faithfully replicate his compositions and helped him deconstruct his settings into values resulting in the 'flattening' of values common to Vermeer. The Rembrandt portrait is typical of Rembrandt; swashbuckling painterly style with 'dramatic' monks habit is in direct contrast to the very sober, and contemplative pose. Titus would die a few short months after inheriting his estate from the Black Plague and Rembrandt would follow him a year later. The Exhibition contained other portraits of Rembrandt's work which was revolutionary in the almost bas-relief sculpting of paint on canvas, most evident when painting jewlrey. Up close, these passages are almost impressionistic and abstract but when viewed from distance they read realistic. It was not just Rembrandt and Vermeer in the exhibition. The gifted portraitist Frans Hals is represented with his typical bravura brushwork which spurned the the methodical procedure of preparatory study and dutiful tranfer to canvas approach common in painting circles for direct composing on the canvas. This gives his work the trademark spontaneity and 'life'. Aelbert Cuyp, the renowned miniaturist still life painter, is also given his due with a finely polished portrait which features prominently in the Vancouver Gallery's promotional material. A neat 'wrinkle' was included: one room contained costumes from the era and visitors were encouraged to try these on. I sketched Alison in her period piece costume. Fun.


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