Rembrandt, Young Woman with Earrings, 1656 © State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

7 October 2017
— 27 May 2018
Dutch Masters from the Hermitage
Treasures of the Tsars
For the first time in its existence, the Hermitage Amsterdam is mounting a show of Dutch masters from the renowned St Petersburg collection. The Nieuwe Keizersgracht wing will showcase one of the greatest treasures of the State Hermitage: the world’s leading collection of Dutch Golden Age painting outside the Netherlands. No fewer than 63 works by 50 different artists are being brought to Amsterdam for a unique exhibition that will celebrate the paintings first (brief) ‘home-coming’ in 250 years.
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Ilja Repin, Portrait of tsar Nicholas II, 1895, oil on canvas © State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
3 exhibitions about Dutch Masters in the Hermitage
Dutch Golden Age painting
The great wealth acquired by the Northern Netherlands in the seventeenth century triggered a huge boom in painting.

Dutch Golden Age painting

The great wealth acquired by the Northern Netherlands in the seventeenth century triggered a huge boom in painting. Countless artists created peerless masterpieces, which now occupy pride of place in museums worldwide and in St Petersburg’s State Hermitage museum in particular. History paintings, landscapes, portraits, still lifes, scenes of everyday life, seascapes and church interiors were all depicted in Golden Age studios with an almost inconceivable display of imagination.

Some outstanding painters, like Rembrandt, mastered a variety of genres but many artists concentrated on just one kind of painting. This intense specialization is a distinctive feature of seventeenth-century Dutch painting. Among the genres represented in this exhibition will be biblical scenes by Lastman and Wtewael, portraits by Rembrandt, Hals, Flinck and others, still lifes by Bol, Heda and Kalf, genre paintings by Dou, Steen and Ter Borch, landscapes by Ruisdael and Van Goyen, and town views by Berckheyde and Van der Heyden.

Jan Steen, Tric-Trac Players, 1667 © State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Dutch Golden Age painting displays a unique and distinctive creativity and individuality. There was an unceasing flow of talented new artists with their own personal styles. And productivity was enormous. Time and again, foreign visitors to the Northern Netherlands expressed astonishment at the profusion of paintings in ordinary homes. Art was not the preserve of the fabulously rich. Even the poor could find the few coppers needed to buy a print, while the more affluent crowded their walls with paintings, even hanging them in the kitchen. Several million paintings are thought to have been produced during the period. In the eighteenth century, they were to become more and more popular outside the Northern Netherlands, particularly among the extremely wealthy.

Gerrit Berckheyde, View of Amsterdam City Hall, 1670 © State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
Gerard Dou, Leiden Bather. 1660–65. © State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
Three small paintings by Gerard Dou
All have a somewhat voyeuristic quality but the purpose and meaning of the group remains unclear.
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Also on display
More Dutch Masters
The exhibitions Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age and New Masters
The whole story
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