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05 March 2024

Rembrandt, Vermeer masterpieces to be showcased at Louvre Abu Dhabi

By Wam

Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first 2019 international exhibition, 'Rembrandt, Vermeer and the Dutch Golden Age: Masterpieces' from The Leiden Collection and the Musee du Louvre, will bring together paintings and drawings by Dutch masters Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer and their contemporaries.

Running from 14th February to 18th May 2019, the exhibition will survey Rembrandt’s artistic journey in Leiden and Amsterdam and his relationships with rivals and peers, including Johannes Vermeer, Jan Lievens, Ferdinand Bol, Carel Fabritius, Gerrit Dou, Frans van Mieris and Frans Hals.

During the Golden Age, the Dutch Republic established itself as a world leader in trade, science, and the arts. Set against this backdrop of cultural exchange, exploration and discovery, the show will explore the artistic traditions that flourished in Leiden and the wider Netherlands in this period, including the development of a new school of artists, called the 'fijnschilders' (fine painters), best known for their exquisitely rendered scenes of daily life.

Manuel Rabate, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, stated, "As Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first international exhibition of the year and part of our 2018-19 cultural season 'A World of Exchanges’, the exhibition underscores the connections between artists that, no doubt, made this period 'golden'. This is the very first time a blockbuster exhibition of the Dutch masters comes to the UAE and it is extremely special that two Vermeer paintings from the same piece of canvas are hung next to each other for the first time in 300 years. I would like to thank our partners, the Musee du Louvre and The Leiden Collection, for making it possible."

The exhibition will feature 22 paintings and drawings from across Rembrandt’s career and his workshop - from his early famed series of allegorical paintings of the senses, which demonstrate the artist’s youthful ingenuity and experimentation with expressions, composition and colour during his Leiden days, to later works created in Amsterdam, including sensitively-rendered portraits, a renowned self-portrait, Self-Portrait with Shaded Eyes and Minerva in Her Study (both from The Leiden Collection), his monumental history painting of the goddess Minerva. These works are displayed alongside paintings by other masters from Rembrandt’s artistic circle, demonstrating the influence that this remarkable group of artists had on each other’s work.

On this extraordinary occasion, Johannes Vermeer’s 'Young Woman Seated at a Virginal' and 'The Lacemaker', two paintings on canvas cut from the same bolt, will hang beside one another for the first time in 300 years at Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Ninety-five artworks, including paintings, drawings and objects, primarily drawn from The Leiden Collection, one of the largest and most significant private collections of artworks from the Dutch Golden Age, highlighted with the Musee du Louvre exceptional collections. Loans from the Rijksmuseum and the Bibliotheque Nationale de France will complete the presentation.

The exhibition is curated by Blaise Ducos, Chief Curator of Dutch and Flemish paintings at the Musee du Louvre, and Lara Yeager-Crasselt, Curator of The Leiden Collection and a specialist in seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish art.

Commenting on the announcement, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, said, "The very inception and early success of Louvre Abu Dhabi was founded on our close friendship with France and our multi-layered partnerships with global museums and art institutions. In 2019, the UAE is celebrating the Year of Tolerance, which is testament to our long standing tradition of nurturing a culture of openness and exchange. The exhibition illustrates not only the importance of cross border cultural collaborations, but also how artistic creativity has always been at the heart of great historic moments."

Alongside the exhibition, Louvre Abu Dhabi will announce a rich cultural programme featuring film screenings curated by Emirati artist Hind Mezaina, a pop-up costumed performance in the museum galleries as well as talks and workshops, including a lecture given on opening day by The Leiden Collection and Musee du Louvre curators.