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Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum: “Vermeer”.. and More

Netherlands_Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum: “Vermeer”

Vermeer’s Paintings; Credit: Rijksmuseum

Over the past few months, the Rijksmuseum’s “Vermeer” exhibition has been the most popular exhibition in Europe. Johannes Vermeer (1632 – 1675) was a master of delicate light who, along with Rembrandt and Frans Hals, epitomized 17th-century Dutch painting. He painted tranquil still scenes, sunlight, and women in the interior of Dutch houses. He only produced 37 works in his lifetime (two of them on disputes), making him even more intriguing. His best-known work is ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring (c. 1665),’ which has inspired several poems, novels, and movies.

The Rijksmuseum is the national art museum of the Netherlands. The “Vermeer” exhibition, which opened in February, brings together 28 of Vermeer’s works, an unprecedentedly complete scale. Vermeer’s works are scattered around the world and rarely lent by their owners, making it difficult to bring them together. However, when the Frick Collection in New York with three of Vermeer’s paintings went into renovation, the museum took the step and borrowed works from 14 institutions in Europe, the United States, and Japan.

Vermeer’s paintings are not only small in number but also in size. To fit 28 small paintings into the massive Rijksmuseum, the curatorial team divided the exhibition into 11 themes and hung fewer works in each room. It’s an environment that allows viewers to focus on the artwork and the artist, but the view is easily blocked, so the museum had to limit the number of visitors entering the exhibition space. The popularity of the exhibition is high. Official tickets are sold out, and secondary trading between visitors is now taking place at high prices. The exhibition closes on June 4.

With the latest technology in research, discoveries and new claims are being made. ‘Lady with a Guitar,’ long thought to be a copy, is claimed to be authentic, and ‘Girl with a Flute (c. 1669-1675),’ once attributed to Vermeer, is claimed to be the work of his daughter Maria. With this exhibition, art historical interpretations of Vermeer are expected to be once revised.

Italy_Milan

Pirelli HangarBicocca: Ann Veronica Janssens’s Solo Exhibition “Grand Bal”

Installation view of Ann Veronica Janssens’s “Grand Bal” at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (2023). Courtesy of the artist; Photo by Andrea Rossetti

Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan presents “Grand Bal” (French for “Great Ball”) through July 30, a solo exhibition by Belgian artist Ann Veronica Janssens (b. 1956). The Pirelli HangarBicocca is a contemporary art museum housed in a former train factory and is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Because of its size, it frequently invites artists of large-scale installations.

Ann Veronica Janssens has long collaborated with scientists to pursue exotic experiences of light. She takes over the art that utilizes light and architectural elements, pioneered in the 1960s by Robert Irwin (b. 1928) and James Turrell (b. 1943). Her use of light, artificial fog, and mirrors induces a sense of variability and transience contrary to the viewing experience of traditionally fixed sculptures. For example, mirrors spread across the floor reflect the ceiling and reveal the structure of the building according to the viewer’s perspective, while artificial light flows from the exit. Like the title of the exhibition, “The Grand Ball,” the artist aims to make the exhibit not a fixed display of objects, but an experience in which the viewer moves and participates as in a dance.

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