CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Navigator: Thomas Eggerer in conversatie met Jacob van Ruisdael en Pieter Saenredam

Navigator: Thomas Eggerer in conversation with Jacob van Ruisdael and Pieter Saenredam Exhibition: 4 July - 28 September 2008

From the museum website

Thomas Eggerer’s painting technique is not aimed at an ideal beauty or aesthetics. Neither is painting for him a spontaneous eruption of feelings or emotions. His paintings rather testify to an intellectual layeredness and are reasoned out in great detail. In each painting Eggerer (Munich, 1963) seeks out the small margin in which (painterly) feeling and (organized) intellect meet each other and gain a balance. In his collages, which he usually displays alongside the paintings, this area of tension that the combination of apparently opposite motives creates, is even more explicit.
Goethe used similar terms to express his admiration for the work of the 17th-century Dutch landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael (Haarlem 1628/29 – Haarlem 1682). In a text from 1813 he wrote that the painter ‘had, with admirable shrewdness, reached the point where creative force and pure intellect meet.’ With his thinking Ruisdael had, according to Goethe, taken his subject matter to a higher level.

Likewise, such qualifications can also be found in descriptions of the 17th-century architectural paintings by Pieter Saenredam (Assendelft 1597 – Haarlem 1665). Several authors use terms such as ‘sovereign control of space’ and ‘sophisticated direction of the image’.

In spite of the enormous differences in subject matter and way of painting, Eggerer, Ruisdael and Saenredam have in common that they want to let the painting breathe. For them, painting is in the first place the creation of space on a flat surface. Primarily they see painting as a spatial construction; the inclusion of narrative elements clearly comes second place.

Light and shadow sections are draped in such a balanced way that nowhere do they disrupt the entity of the painting. Always there is this precise choreography of the figures, of whom each detail and gesture is integrated in the total rhythm of the painting. This clear, formal structure is reinforced by the fact that the figures do not perform anecdotal acts or represent a certain role. The tonal shades of colour and the delicate paint treatment see to a pictorial unity and a well-balanced construction of the image.

The exhibition wants to show that, although certain aspects of painting have been researched through the ages and as such boast a rich history, they are nevertheless still relevant and keep intriguing artists to this day.