Quiet moments and hard toil, exuberant company and rowdy parties, love and fighting – plus all the breaks in between. The prolific Dutch art world of the seventeenth century bore witness to a new trend, as painters increasingly began to depict everyday events and objects. During the Danish Golden Age of the nineteenth century, Danish artists followed suit and The Nivaagaard Collection has now gathered together some famous masterworks and hidden treasures from these two periods. The exhibition will include more than 100 works from leading museums and private collections in the Netherlands, USA, France, England, Sweden and Denmark.
The Joy of Everyday Life in the Netherlands and Denmark focuses on what is known as genre painting – depictions of folk like in which ordinary people take on leading roles as narrative subjects within everyday settings. The scenes depicted are frequently sensuous and humorous, often peculiar and sometimes moralizing. And they are loaded with detail – from glimmering copper kettles to soft textiles and reflections in a beer glass. Even today, genre painting still manages to reach right our own life experiences and provoke feelings of presence, compassion, revulsion or perhaps even a smile as we come face to face with people from a forgotten time, depicted by some of the greatest artists in history.
The exhibition is based on Kasper Lægring’s post-doctoral research project about Dutch and Danish genre painting (University of Aarhus, funded by the New Carlsberg Foundation). The exhibition also benefits from the ongoing work and preliminary results of the research on the Dutch and Flemish collection in the Nivaagaard Collection, which is supported by the Danish Ministry of Culture and conducted by special consultant Prof. em. Dr. Jørgen Wadum and Dr. Angela Jager (RKD, The Hague).