Information from the organizers, 27 April 2012
In the Netherlands April 30 traditionally is Queen’s Day, celebrating the birthday of H.M. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. As of 22 April 1992 the Kingdom of the Netherlands established diplomatic relations with the independent Republic of Georgia and so laid down the foundations for political, economic and cultural bilateral relations between the two countries. To further strengthen the cultural ties between the two countries the exhibition is presented at the Simon Janashia Museum of History of the National Museum of Georgia on the occasion of these two dates. A selection has been made of 17th- to 19th-Century Dutch paintings from the storerooms of Shalva Amiranashvili Art Museum of the National Museum of Georgia, which represents the treasury
of the museum collection.
In the 17th Century the political, economic religious and social changes aggravated national consciousness of the Dutch people and defined a special democratic character of the art. Artists no longer solely made paintings on commission for the church and royal patrons, but instead found a large group of wealthy middle class citizens, salesmen and regents, among their clients. Art was in high demand and was made for the free market. In order to produce a high number of paintings and to reach a high quality, artists often specialized in one type of painting: landscape, still-life, portraits, genre paintings (scenes from everyday life) or history paintings.
Dutch painters like Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals are famous around the world. However, a great number of gifted artists worked in Holland in the 17th Century. They produced a staggering number of high quality paintings, often realistic depictions of the visible world that they saw around them. While in the 17th Century almost all houses were adorned with paintings, in later centuries the Dutch – a nation of salesmen – sold many of their treasures.
Nowadays even in Georgia a small but choice selection of minor and major Dutch paintings can be found. Of special interest is a genre painting by Jan Steen (1626-1679). It depicts a typical Dutch cheerful interior scene, however, there is a moral lesson to be learned. In the Netherlands people still call a
busy and messy house a ‘household of Jan Steen’. Steen shows that children will follow the example of their parents, even bad examples. Children are smoking and drinking in Steen’s paintings. In a witty way the painter warns against the effects of bad upbringing.
Almost every genre of Dutch painting is represented in the exhibition. The landscape, as an independent genre, flourished in Holland in the 17th century. Dutch artists take a great interest in effects of light and shade at various time of the day or seasons. You will get acquainted with typical Dutch landscapes with cows, but also with Scandinavian and Italianate landscapes by great masters like Jakob van Ruisdael (1628-1682), Adriaen van der Velde (1636-1672) and Jan Baptist Weenix (1640/1642-1719).