This small thematic exhibition presents 25 Dutch prints and drawings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries from the rich holdings of the Kupferstichkabinett. The focus is on intensive observation of nature and curiosity about the external appearance of things. Moving clouds, rain showers, a sudden gust of wind become just as worthy of depiction as the bone-chilling cold during the so-called Little Ice Age, a period with long-lasting and particularly cold winters.
April weather, it’s raining, the sun breaks through the clouds, all of a sudden the landscape shines: In Dutch prints and drawings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, we find atmospheric snapshots, precise observations of the sky and clouds, but also documentations of extreme weather events such as storms and floods.
The weather has always been observed to determine favorable times for sowing or harvesting, for example. With the economic and political rise of Dutch society, towards the end of the 16th century artists turned to the local landscape as a subject and, related to this, also to the weather. Atmospheric phenomena and weather events were closely observed, rendered in detail, and used purposefully to create a pictorial mood or symbolically charge a depiction.
Due to drainage and land clearing, the low-lying area of what is now the Netherlands was particularly susceptible to weather extremes. Historically documented floods, storms and dike breaches also found their way into art. These depictions are highly relevant: due to climate change, extreme weather events such as heavy rain or heat waves are on the rise today, endangering land and people worldwide. The exhibition attempts to approach the awakening interest in the representation of these visible and thus depictable phenomena as well as the often devastating consequences of weather extremes.