CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

The connoisseur’s eye: master drawings and prints from the Amsterdams Historisch Museum

Exhibition: 11 October - 24 November 2008

From the nihonoranda website of the Netherlands embassy in Tokyo

This exhibition focuses on two points: one point is to show the variety of the drawings and prints of the 17th century Netherlands, that is, figure study, compositional drawings, landscape drawing (cityscape, seascape, Italianate landscape), and still life, which would be classified as drawings “naar het leven” (after the life), or “uyt den geest” (from the imagination). These works are to be focused on in the context of art education in the workshop.

Another focusing point is to see the AHM drawings collection in the context of the taste of art in the nineteenth century Netherlands. In the drawings collection of Carel Josef Fodor we could see the preference for the art lovers at that time.

Museum information

The exhibition traces the development of the art of European drawings since the Renaissance, and the aspect of drawings as collectors’ items, from the major works of the drawing collection of the Amsterdams Historisch Museum.

Drawings in European art have been considered the basis of all plastic arts. Drawing is the technique where an artist reproduces nature, and at the same time, it is the expression of the artist’s originality that shows the basic ability of conception to create a work of art. In the Netherlands, drawings were used since the 17th century not only as preparation for a finished piece, but also as models depicting various motifs used while creating, and also as educational samples for training pupils. These types of drawings were not only used by artists and studios, but were also gathered by collectors such as paintings were.

In this exhibition, we are focusing on the Dutch drawings of the 17th to 19th century, including works by Rubens and Rembrandt, from the drawing collection of the Amsterdams Historisch Museum. These rarely exhibited superior works provide an outline of Dutch drawing, and show not only how artists of this era created and used drawings, but how popular they were as independent art works.

We would like to express our deep gratitude towards Director Pauline Kruseman of the Amsterdams Historisch Museum for permission to exhibit these precious works, and also Mr. Norbert Middelkoop (Curator of Painting, Drawings and Prints) and the staff of the same museum, who made great efforts in the preparation of this exhibition. We also deeply thank all of those who extended their support and cooperation in creating this exhibition.


Prologue: Drawing Collections in Europe
1: Italian and German old master drawings and prints
2: Beginning of the Golden Age. Early 17th century Flemish and Dutch drawings
3: The Golden Age of Dutch drawing
4: The reception of Rembrandt’s etchings and his image
5: Looking back to the Golden Age: 18-19th century Dutch drawings and drawing collections
Epilogue: Dutch watercolours in the Geidai Collection

Geidai Collection Special: depiction of Japanese landscape in the 19th century


Royal Netherlands Embassy
Aioi Insurance Co., Ltd.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
The Society for International Cultural Exchange
Insatsu Choyokai Foundation
The Nomura Cultural Foundation
Geidai Friends
Department of Western Art History, Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts

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