From the museum’s website, 20 October 2015
René Descartes’ famous dictum, “I think, therefore I am,” embodies the fascination with personal identity that enlivened the cultural life of early modern Europe. A portrait of the philosopher—a rare in-life rendering—joins other captivating paintings that reflect the appetite for depictions of the individual in the Low Countries in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These range from commissioned portraits to imaginative studies in which models enact states of emotion, and a lively sequence of self-portraits. The show highlights several paintings donated to the gallery in 2013–2014, which are exhibited here for the first time.
Drawing primarily from The Bader Collection, this exhibit is co-curated by Dr Stephanie S. Dickey, Bader Chair in Northern Baroque Art in the Department of Art History & Art Conservation at Queen’s University and Dr Jacquelyn N. Coutré, Bader Curator and Researcher of European Art.