From the Pinacothèque de Paris website, 24 September 2009
For its third season, the Pinacothèque de Paris, in association with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, will present one of the most interesting periods in art history: the Dutch 17th century.
The exhibition will put on an outstanding ensemble of over one hundred and thirty pieces, including about sixty paintings,thirty graphic works (drawings and water-colors) ten etchings as well as ten objects to give an extremely visual representation of that period (carved ivories, tapestries, china, wooden miniatures, silverware, glassworks and furnishings).
A generation of unprecedented wealth in the history of art sprang up, that was to be found again in Paris only at the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century. Some painters also acquired a specialty in very precise fields : still-lives or vanities, with Willem Claesz Heda and Pieter Claesz ; landscapes with Jan van Goyen, Jacob van Ruysdael or else Meindert Hobbema. Jan Steen or Adriaen van Ostade illustrated satires of village life, whereas Gerard Ter Borch and Pieter de Hooch gave themselves up to the comedy of manners and to the genre scenes, which included peasant festivities. Emanuel de Witte and Pieter Jansz Saenredam specialized in painting monuments,Thomas de Keyser and Frans Hals were portrait specialists and Paulus Potter specialized in animal portraits.
We have to set apart individuals such as Vermeer or Rembrandt who are finally not particularly representative of that period. However, they have become its symbols. Unlike other artists, they were interested in several different fields and refused any kind of specialization. One and the other have remained the absolute models, beyond time and period, regarded for four centuries as the leading painters in the history of art.
This exhibition wants above all to put forward Rembrandt’s singular role as the most influential artist of his time. Rembrandt enjoyed a notoriety that gave him a very particular status and made of him the model for that period thanks to his tolerance,his modernity,his poetical realism and his emotional power, chiefly translated by his use of light.A master of chiaroscuro,Rembrandt conferred upon his models,whether simple portraits or religious scenes, an unequalled dimension, a density, a human beauty that made of him the fore-runner of modernity, an analyst of souls and consciousness three centuries ahead of his contemporaries.