CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Rijksmuseum aan de Maas

On location: Rijksmuseum in Maastricht Exhibition: 12 March 2002 - 31 December 2008


Rijksmuseum aan de Maas has been continued in a new exhibition: Rijksmuseum Maastricht, een selectie van Zuid Nederlandse schilder en beeldhouwkunst, ca. 1480-1620

From the website of the museum

Together with works from the Bonnefanten Museum’s own collection, over 80 works from the Southern Netherlands art collection of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum make up the new rijksmuseum in maastricht collection wing. Paintings from the ‘national treasure-house’ by such artists as Gerard David, Jan Brueghel, Antoon van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens and Hendrick Goltzius will be displayed alongside old aquaintances by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Joachim Beuckelaer and Pieter Aertsen for a considerable period of time.

With ‘Renaissance in the Southern Netherlands’ as the theme, the works on show in the room at the head of the wing examine the inspiration sought in Italy by Dutch artists. Paintings as well as tapestries, painted glass roundels and beautifully designed goblets, can be admired here.

The works of art in the Rijksmuseum in Maastricht exhibition cover the period from the late 15th to the 17th century. The exhibition comprises early religious art by artists including Gerard David and Colijn de Coter, as well as 17th-century art for collectors. Much more so than painting in the Northern Netherlands, 17th-century painting in the Southern Netherlands was characterised by the grand gesture. Classical stories and biblical scenes were often used as a pretext for painting voluptuous nudes on large canvases, as can be seen in the paintings by Hendrick van Balen and Jacob Jordaens.

17th-century collector’s art can be classified into several distinct groups: landscapes, Genre paintings and Still lifes. Landscapes, highlighted by the works of Jacob and Roelant Savery, Kerstiaen de Keuninck, Jan Brueghel the Elder and Joos de Momper, comprise the first group. In the 16th and 17th century, the landscape genre developed in the Southern Netherlands from mere backdrop into an independent specialism. The ‘World Landscape’, a composed depiction of the world as seen from above or from a bird’s eye perspective, is characteristic of landscape painting in the Southern Netherlands. genre paintings form another specialism, with David Teniers, Adriaen Brouwer, Adriaen van de Venne and David Vinckboons as its most important practitioners. These paintings depict scenes from the daily life of simple folk and sometimes contain a moralistic or humorous message below the surface. still lifes, such as the large ostentatious still life by Adriaen van Utrecht, were collector’s art par excellence.

Jan Vermeyen’s portrait of Erard de la Marck recalls the curious political history of Maastricht. As the prince-bishop of Liege, in Belgium, he employed numerous artists and sent them to Italy to learn the visual language of the Renaissance. De la Marck was also the sovereign of part of the population of Maastricht. As such, the return of his portrait to Maastricht from Amsterdam is essentially a homecoming.