Hoogsteder Journal No. 10

Light in a Dark Niche

Still life by Laurens Craen restored to its former glory

Little research has so far been done into the life and work of Laurens Craen. Strikingly only some twenty pictures by this talented master have come down to us. As far as is known at present Craen was purely active as a still-life painter. He lived and worked in Middelburg between 1646 and 1666, but had had a studio before that in The Hague.

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Backed by Backer

Portrait of Geertruida Hasselaer by Jacob Backer is a key work

For years we sought to discover the identity of the artist who had painted the Two Young Girls with a Bird’s Nest. In the end Salomon de Bray appeared the most likely candidate. But the Portrait of Geertruida Hasselaer has shed new light on the subject, which has not been available to art historians until now.

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Haarlem’s Painter Sons

Gillis Rombouts and Roelof van Vries in the Haarlem sun

In the early seventeenth century Haarlem was the cradle of Dutch landscape art. Many artists of note – among them Esaias van de Velde, Salomon van Ruysdael and Hendrik Vroom – were born, apprenticed or worked in the city. It would be difficult to overestimate the influence these and other renowned masters exerted. Art history, however, has failed to give full value to the world of a host of other masters who, in their wake, also helped to bring Haarlem landscape painting to its prominence.

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The King and the Oracle

Unique History Painting by Nicolaes van Helt Stocade

This time, instead of a still life, a landscape or genre scene, a magnificent history piece. In the seventeenth century, depictions of historical events were considered the highest form of art. But only once in the seventeenth century did anyone think of painting the story of Tarquin and Amalthea. The tale of a unique history painting.

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Noble Apostles

Four Paintings from the collection of Princess Marianne of the Netherlands

Who the painter of these four Apostle portraits is has yet to be established, although he was certainly a follower of the Italian artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The canvases were probably painted in the first quarter of the seventeenth century in Rome or Naples. But why do these four works interest us so much?

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The Lily and the Guild Master

Adriaen de Lelie incorporated revolutionary ideas in his paintings

With a number of examples we have been able to show how a spectacular restoration can eventually result in a correct interpretation. But it is certainly not always necessary for something about the painting to change. Art history itself can produce to surprising new insights. By examining a painting in detail and placing it in its historical context, it can acquire a totally different dimension. This is what happened to two paintings of domestic interiors by the eighteenth-century artist Adriaen de Lelie.

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Cuyp or Calraet?

Two horse painters from Dordrecht with the monogram A.C.

It is not only subsequently added signatures that can send researchers in the wrong direction, monograms of the actual artist can also sow confusion. This is the case, for example, with the initialsAC, which conceal the identity of two different artists.

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Trumpet and Toupee

Trumpeter loses his hair, but not his spots

Over the years, the trumpeter, who was given a central role in this painting by Palamedesz., has suffered greatly. But not from the dangers of military life. The brush proved mightier than the sword.

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More than the Sum of its Parts

Jan Pauwel Gillemans and Pieter Rijsbraeck’s fruitful collaboration

Around 1680 a change in style can be seen in the world of painting. Dutch realism made way for art inspired by classical antiquity. Gillemans and Rijsbraeck are two artists who represent this new fashion and who showed in their still lifes, moreover, that the result of fruitful collaboration can sometimes produce more than the sum of its parts.

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Back to Nature!

Willem van Leen and the garden with the lost lion

Back to nature! was the cry in the Age of Enlightenment. This was in reaction to the Rococo or Louis XV style which had dominated fashionable tastes in the eighteenth century, with its elaborate lines, and its shell and floral motifs. Around 1770 the demand was for greater simplicity. Indeed, classical antiquity was not just a source of inspiration for new formal idioms, it set the tone for moral virtue.

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The Winter King back in The Hague for the winter

Exhibition Diary

Frederick V was Elector Palatine, but became popularly known as the Winter King since he only managed to rule his kingdom of Bohemia for a single winter. This was followed by ten years of exile in The Hague. After his death in 1632 his wife Elizabeth Stuart was to remain in the city for a further thirty years.

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Flowery Flora

Exhibition Diary

Symbolism and emotion were the themes around which the organisers of Flowers of Desire compiled their presentation. In addition to numerous floral still lifes, this show features people with flowers. A moving example is A Dead Child Carried to Heaven by Two Angels by Nicolaes Maes, which was lent by Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder.

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Vital Fish in Utrecht

Exhibition Diary

As part of its VIS VITALIS project the Centraal Museum in Utrecht is hosting an exhibition of Fish Still Lifes by Dutch and Flemish Masters from 1550-1700. It focuses on a genre which has long remained in undeserved obscurity. Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder have provided a major contribution to the show in the shape of eight paintings. In all the presentation will feature 55 works.

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Rembrandt in Japan

Exhibition Diary

We all know that Rembrandt is a world-famous artist, but that a major exhibition was devoted to him and his Academy in the autumn of 2003 in Japan is perhaps less well known. In collaboration with the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum and the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin an impressive selection of leading works from the Dutch Golden Age was compiled for a presentation at the Museum of Western Art in Tokyo.

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