CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

From Brueghel to Stomer: Treasures of Flemish Art

Exhibition: 16 May - 23 June 2015

Information from the press release

The opening of EXPO 2015 is the occasion for an event of international scope focused on the concept of Milan as the ideal meeting point between northern and southern Europe under the auspices of the Art as a universal concept.

The exhibition is curated and organized by Caretto & Occhinegro and PromoArt .

Caretto & Occhinegro,a new reality specializes in managing Flemish and Dutch art, will therefore be hosted in the rooms of Space Big Santa Marta with a selection of twenty paintings from Flemish school, all chosen for prestige, quality and importance.

The exhibition period will be punctuated with events dedicated to the meeting with scholars, enthusiasts and intellectuals eager to approach the Flemish painting through direct contact with the works, all crowned by the presentation of a special catalog devoted to the analysis of each of the paintings in turn divided into four sections that will help the discovery of one of the finest artistic seasons in Europe.

The first section is focused on Flemish Reinassance.

It will be possible to admire the Lamentation by Pieter Coeck’s, returning after a tour of important public exhibitions, beautifully demonstrates dramatic and extravagant poses. On the wave of Italian-inspired mannerism, in contrast, Willem Key gives Christ Bearing the Cross a cinematographic touch, while Christ on the Mount of Olives by Joachim Beuckelaer is a pyramidal construction based on in-depth study of the Italian Renaissance, in which the strictness of the modern manner is softened by the “emotional landscape” in the background of the composition.

The second section is dedicated to the Brueghel’s world.

The epic of the Brueghel family owes its fortune to the ability to create a recognizable and seductive style, guarded and passed on by seven generations of artists and an endless series of disciples and descendants acquired throughout the XVII century.

The intent is to offer a range of works able to satisfy the most demanding the collectors, but also the neophytes. Quintessential Flemish painting acts as a guide to appreciating the scintillating colors, the touch of fantasy, the refined quality of the surfaces that –alone- distinguishes the Flemish school from all the others. From David Vinckboons to Abraham Govaerts, to Sebastiaen Vrancx, the chosen landscapes are a kaleidoscope of colors and forms, inspired by Jan “Velvet” Brueghel.

Of this latter, we are proud to present a drawing that was once property of a museum. The work, fresh as if it had been sketched yesterday, was used by the artist as a basis for a famous landscape, today displayed at the Uffizi.

From Jan Brueghel the Jounger, there will be Diana and her nymphs spied by satyrs. A shimmering symphony of colours dominates the scene and excites the eyes: red, yellow, dark green and intense blue. The details are refined with small and delicate touches of brush. The shapes of the figures are sensual, shiny and polished. This is the essence of “Bruegel Style”, which is studied for being an absolute pleasure for eyes.

The third section is configured as a broad digression on so-called Golden Age, which pitted ideally Flemish painting his Dutch counterpart, based on common values and a civil investigation to investigate the more concrete aspects of daily life. This section is symbolized by the Montumental Still life, produced by Pieter Claesz in his late period of activity, when his brush stroke became materic and impressionistic, is a truly milestone in the genre of dutch still-life. The perfection and solemnity of the composition, in which all is calculated with particular attention for balance and proportions, is realized with grey tonalities, almost silvery, functional for the narration of prosperity of the meal, a truly monument to the joy of food.

Ideally closes the show a fourth section, devoted to the fascinating theme of Caravaggism. Five works will illustrate the relationship between the Nordic world and the personal interpretation that artists of Flanders were able to do the language of Caravaggio. The main protagonist, as well as the very symbol of the exhibition is the painting by Matthias Stomer depicting Tobias healing his father. Benedict Nicolson has studied with attention this painting and dedicated both general studies and specific essays. The painting once was in the Louvre and this work of art is considered one of the most relevant from the sicilian period, when the brush stroke of the master becomes browny and oxidised, focusing on a rude verism very far from the juvenile period of activity that was very nordic in his features. This giant, strong, canvas is focalized on the most important moment of the biblical story of Tobi, when the young hero heals his father, following the instructions of Raphael the archangel, with a miraculous unguent.

Stern and solemn, is the rather large painting of Johannes Woutersz said Stap, portraying Pontius Pilate washing his hands. The work is dominated by the ruby red of the cloth of Pilate and the expressions of the characters reveal their Nordic origin in that tension austere halfway between an immature caravaggism and the dictates of the previous century. A piece of marked realism is also provided by the work of Werner van denValckert, the particular subject of the man who prepares the pipe tobacco and a ruddy-cheeked woman emerges from the second floor, weaving a game looks expressive and true.

Between sensual chiaroscuro, therefore, the exhibition closes, or rather begins, leaving room for the works and sentiments that will inspire in the visitor.