Portrait Gallery of the 17th Century
colossal, 17th century group portraits from the Amsterdam Museum and the
Rijksmuseum collections have been brought together for the first time ever in
the Hermitage Amsterdam. These are the ‘brothers and sisters’ of the famous ‘Night
Watch’ by Rembrandt van Rijn. They are
unique all over the world and are rarely exposed due to their impressive size. Look
at regents, civic guards and merchants of all ranks, social classes and religions,
standing together as brothers. Rembrandt’s ‘The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Deijman’
and portraits of civic guards including Govert Flinck and Nicolaes Pickenoy are
but a few examples of the works of art that are on display in the Portrait
Gallery of the 17th Century. Together they illustrate the story of collective citizenship
that is so typical of the Netherlands. It’s as if they are holding up a mirror
to contemporary Dutch society. Because the relationships between the people of
the time formed the basis of the standards and conventions of today.
The audio tour to accompany the exhibition is included in the ticket price and is available in Dutch, English, German, French, Spanish and Italian.
NEW INTERVENTION BY NATASJA KENSMIL: MONUMENT OF REGENTS
The exhibition with
paintings by visual artist Natasja Kensmil will be shown in the middle of the
permanent presentation 'Group Portraits of the 17th century'. Inspired by the
collection of group portraits Kensmil immersed herself in the urban society of
seventeenth-century Holland. Five of her works can be seen here amidst the
historical portraits, with the nine-part 'Monument of Regents' as the
centrepiece. The exhibition is on show until 2 January 2022.
Kensmil's paintings appeal to the imagination. On canvases of impressive size she portrays prominent figures, with thick layers of paint robustly painted, and yet full of details. On canvases of impressive size Kensmil paints prominent figures, with thick layers of paint robustly painted, and yet full of details. Who are these archetypes of persons portrayed on the famous seventeenth-century works, and what is going on in them? With its attention to this period, and the lives of people who are portrayed in groups: shooters, regentesses and regents, Kensmil breaks through the often still one-sided view of this heritage in museum collections.
Her paintings of a ship at sea and a tropical rainforest broaden the view to the origins of prosperity, often originating from trade and connected with a colonial system full of violence and oppression. Curator Imara Limon (Amsterdam Museum): ''Kensmil's works of art are a powerful addition to the collection of portraits of Amsterdam administrators in the permanent exhibition 'Group Portraits of the 17th Century. In her paintings the boundaries between good and evil are blurred and she shows that the past is still haunted by the present'.
Interventions in permanent presentation 'Group portraits of the 17th Century
Together with the Rijksmuseum, the Amsterdam Museum has displayed the largest collection of group portraits in the world in the exhibition 'Group Portraits of the 17th Century' in the Hermitage since November 2014. The group portraits of Amsterdam shooters and regents hang in an impressive large hall that forms the centrepiece of an exhibition about life in Dutch cities in the seventeenth century. After Jörgen Tjon A Fong's controversial intervention in 2019, this is the second time that the Amsterdam Museum has invited a contemporary maker to realize an intervention in the presentation 'Group Portraits of the 17th Century' and to provide this Amsterdam heritage with new perspectives.