CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Joys of life: the golden age of Dutch and Flemish painting

Exhibition: 11 September - 31 December 2009

From the museum website, 17 September 2009

The Joys of Life exhibition celebrates at the eve of the 190th year anniversary of the Sinebrychoff brewery the common roots of the brewery and the Sinebrychoff Art Museum. The exhibition presents a good overview of the Dutch and Flemish 17th century genre paintings, depictions of the interiors of taverns and alehouses, and the everyday country life not forgetting the typical objects of the time. The exhibition has been prepared in cooperation with the Estonian Kadriorg Art Museum. The Dutch and Flemish art collections are internationally remarkable in both museums.

The exhibition is also a tribute to the Sinebrychoff family. Paul Sinebrychoff the younger amassed one of the most important art collections of old masters in Finland with the wealth earned from the brewery. The Dutch and Flemish 17th century paintings were the collector’s pride. The leading theme of the exhibition, depictions of inns and merry drinking companies, were typical subjects for the paintings of the Dutch Golden Age.

Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1528−1569) launched an entirely new genre in Western art by introducing people merrymaking during the fairs and peasant weddings. His popular paintings were widely circulated as prints. Drinking and merry companies became the painting genre of its own, to which artists could devote themselves. Some artists, like for example Adriaen Brouwer, David Teniers and Adriaen Ostade, specialized in the scenes of peasant taverns and inns. Other artists like Anthonie Palamedesz. and Dirck Hals painted more elegant companies at banquets. In the 17th century Netherlands there was an increasing general prosperity, while the gulf between the rich and the poor was widening. The wealthy, flirting and care-free companies enjoying themselves playing cards and making music reminded the 17th century viewer of the transient nature of the earthly pleasures.

Aside by the paintings from the Kadriorg Art Museum the exhibition presents works of art from the National Museum of Finland, Ostrobothnian Museum, Gösta Serlachius Art Museum, and from private lenders. In addition to the paintings, a selection of Dutch and Flemish 17th century prints and objects like clay pipes, wine glasses and tankards will be displayed.

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