Why are we so fascinated with candlelight in paintings? Probably because it is so versatile. Flickering candlelight not only creates a warm and intimate atmosphere, but also adds to the sense of drama in paintings. Seventeenth-century painters like Gerard Dou and Godefridus Schalcken still captivate us with their nightly scenes. Or look at the strong contrast between light and dark, the so-called chiaroscuro, in a beautiful etching by Rembrandt.
The artist who spoke the ‘language of candlelight’ the best, is Gerard van Honthorst, who was known in Italy as Gherardo delle Notti (Gerard of the Nights). The exhibition shows some of his magisterial works, including The Mocking of Christ from 1614. This monumental painting from a foreign private collection has never been on display in the Netherlands. Another exceptional loan that can be seen is Rembrandt’s The Holy Family at Night, which travels to Museum Gouda from the Rijksmuseum.
The exhibition Kaarslicht (Candlelight) is a journey through three centuries of candlelight in art. Experience an intimate world full of nocturnal tension and drama. Get acquainted with the way in which artists from the Low Countries, from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, used candle and torchlight to make their work shine.