Peter Paul Rubens, Study for St. Apollonia
From the museum website
It is a well-known fact that the Flemish and Dutch artists loved Italy and visited it in great numbers, some just in passing, some to stay for a while and others who took up permanent residence here. The fertile and friendly contacts that have been established between the Prints and Drawings Department of the Uffizi and the Dutch University Institute of Art History of Florence have been intensified on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, to celebrate the continuity of the tradition and the ancient “friendship” with Italy of the artists of the past. The astute selection of over eighty works made by the two curators, Wouter Kloek and Bert W. Meijer, provides an overview both of the principal artists who were born in northern and southern Holland up to the nineteenth century, and of the different trends and genres frequented, most importantly the landscape.
At a distance of over forty years, the exhibition ties up with the pioneering show of Flemish and Dutch drawings promoted by the Uffizi Department in 1964, curated by E. K. J. Reznicek again with the support of the Dutch University Institute. On the basis of this, the current show suggests new attribution proposals, iconographic clarifications and further insight into the significant group of Rubens’ drawings. Outstanding among these is the delightful Bust of a Young Girl, a preparatory study for Saint Apollonia in the altarpiece of the Virgin Enthroned with Saints, completed in June 1628 for the Church of St. Augustine in Antwerp. This time the curators have also provided an explanation for the choice of the various drawings, which include important discoveries and significant artistic exemplars – suffice it to mention the Horse with Groom by Van Dyck. The new selection is the result of systematic research in the entire fond of the Dutch and Flemish artists, comprising over nine hundred drawings, which was carried out when the list was drawn up by Kloek in 1975, once again availing of the assistance of the Dutch University Institute.
The event is also proposed as a starting point for future studies designed to focus on individual artists or drawings, possibly adopting different viewpoints or interpretations from those of the curators. Like all initiatives, its aspirations to achieve a systematic character have entailed paying particular attention to the meticulous perusal of the inventories and the observation of the watermarks.
Information from the Netherlands Institute in Florence
On June 25th the exhibition Flemish and Dutch Drawings from the Collections of the Drawing and Prints Cabinet of the Uffizi Gallery will open, (curators: Wouter Th. Kloek and Bert W. Meijer). The exhibition, hosted by the Printroom of the Uffizi and its Director Marzia Faietti, offers visitors a representative selection of the most beautiful sheets from the important Uffizi holdings, covering a time span ranging from the Flemish Primitives at the end of the 15th century to the italianizing Vedutisti of the early 18th century and Dutch representatives of the Posillipo School. Through significant and emblematic pieces, the selection embraces the different genres: from narrative religious and mythological scenes to portraits, from landscapes to battlefields, to scenes from daily life. Among the first-range artists represented are some anonymous 15th century draughtsmen, Lucas van Leyden, Jan Gossaert, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Bartholomeus Spranger, Matthijs and Paul Bril, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens, Justus Sustermans, Herman van Swanevelt and many others. The exhibition will continue until September 2nd and will then relocate to the Institut Néerlandais in Paris.