CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Fantasy and Reality – Salomon van Ruysdael’s Utrecht ‘Plompetoren’

9 May - 26 November 2023

Fantasy and Reality – Salomon van Ruysdael’s Utrecht ‘Plompetoren’

Exhibition: 9 May - 26 November 2023

Recently restored, unexpected even somewhat bawdy details have now been brought to light in Salomon van Ruysdael’s view of Utrecht’s ‘Plompetoren’: two cattle copulating in the shade of the trees as well as a man urinating against the city wall. Dutch painting of the seventeenth century did not shy away from depicting such everyday motifs. Nevertheless, is this painting really a realistic picture of a moment frozen in time? The contemporary viewer would have doubted that immediately as van Ruysdael placed the city of Utrecht’s medieval fortified tower in an idyllic, rural setting. In reality, however, the ‘Plompetoren’, built in the twelfth century, formed part of the city’s fortifications that had a total of thirteen towers.

This presentation is part of the All Eyes On series. The series highlights a work or group of works, a significant artist personality or artistic position, guest appearances by individual loans, important restorations, or new acquisitions in the midst of the gallery. The artistic as well as technical qualities of the paintings, their content and significance, their history of creation and impact, and their creators are illuminated in the context of the collection. This opens up new, current perspectives and diverse insights into the research work at the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen.