CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Monday 17 June

1. Nationalmuseum: Dutch and Flemish art

with Martin Olin and Micael Ernstell
The in-depth study visit to the Dutch and Flemish collections of the Nationalmuseum will be expertly led by Martin Olin, Director of Collections. The focus will be on the research and preparations for the new collection display, the early history of the collection in Sweden, and recent acquisitions.

Besides large holdings of paintings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Dutch seventeenth-century paintings are also well represented within the collections of the Nationalmuseum. One of the highlights, of course, is Rembrandt’s The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis, which is owned by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts but has been on display at the Nationalmuseum for over 150 years. In addition to several other works by Rembrandt, the collection also includes work by many Dutch and Flemish artists, such as Peter Paul Rubens, Judith Leyster, Daniël Seghers, Thomas Willeboirts Bosschaert, Gabriel Metsu, Jan Massijs, Anthony van Dyck, Jan Brueghel I, and Hendrick ter Brugghen.

2. Nationalmuseum: printroom and conservation studio

with Carina Fryklund
The Nationalmuseum possesses a significant collection of European drawings from the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries. This excursion to the print room, the storage facility for works on paper, and the paper conservation studio, will enable participants to see works that are rarely shown to the general public. Carina Fryklund, Curator of Old Master Drawings and Paintings at the Nationalmuseum, and her colleagues at the Department of Preservation, invite participants on a tour of the facilities, with an opportunity to study a selection of works from the rich collection of Netherlandish, Dutch, and Flemish drawings and prints from the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries. The visit will provide an opportunity to study drawings and prints by artists such as Lucas van Leyden, Hendrick Goltzius, Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Jacques Jordaens, Lucas van Uden and others, from close by. A range of issues will be discussed: highlights, new findings, and problems of attribution and conservation.

3. Spökslottet

with Camilla Hjelm
Your guide on this in-depth visit to the Scheffler Palace, more commonly known as the Spökslottet or Haunted Mansion, will be Chief Curator Camilla Hjelm. The Spökslottet was built in the 1690s by the Polish-Swedish merchant Hans Petter Scheffler. Since the 1920s, the building is part of the University of Stockholm and holds the university’s art collection.

The visit will start with an introduction to the Dutch and Flemish collections followed by a focus session on a work previously attributed to Pieter Bruegel (I) called The Attack. During this session matters regarding attribution will be discussed with the group. For more information about the painting, please see the five-minute video made by the University of Stockholm. Your input will be greatly appreciated. At the end of the visit there will be time to look around the museum and see works by artists including Jan de Beer, Nicolaes Berchem, Gillis van Coninxloo, and Cornelis Bega.

4. Hallwyl Museum

with Samuel Norrby and Ann-Cathrin Rothlind
The Hallwyl Museum is closely associated with its visionary founder, Wilhelmina von Hallwyl (1844–1930) who systematically transformed her home into a museum. She adopted an “encyclopedic” perspective to collecting and set out to accumulate a wide-ranging selection of objects and artworks. The Hallwyl Museum could well be described as a showcase for her eclectic taste. Through the preservation of the whole house as a museum, the era and the social environment in which she lived are preserved, and the ensemble reflects the values, interests and norms of her time.

A bronze sculpture by Ellen Roosval, in the gallery of Dutch and Flemish paintings
(photo: Ingalill Snitt © – hallwylskamuseet.se)

During this in-depth visit to the Hallwyl Museum, after words of welcome by the museum’s director Heli Haapasalo and Marika Bogren, manager of the historic houses collections, we will spend time in the picture gallery with curator Samuel Norrby and paintings conservator Ann-Cathrin Rothlind. They will focus on the collection of Dutch and Flemish art from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which holds notable works by artists such as Nicolaes Maes, Jan van Goyen, Pieter Aertsen, Frans Floris (I), Willem Claesz. Heda, Ambrosius Bosschaert (I), Cornelis van Poelenburch, Rachel Ruysch, Gerard ter Borch (I), and many more.

Some of the presented works have unanswered questions about which all input is greatly appreciated. For example, input on two portraits that are now attributed to Gillis Claeissens would be very welcome. In 2017, research shed new light on two portraits that had long been attributed to an anonymous artist; they were catalogued as “French portraits by unknown artist.” The portraits were on view in the exhibition Pieter Pourbus and the Forgotten Masters (13 October 2017 – 21 January 2018) at the Groeningemuseum in Bruges. The attribution of the monogram to Claeissens opened new avenues of research into the oeuvre of this painter. The sitters depicted in the portraits remain yet unidentified.

5. The Vasa Museum: Ship and Sculpture

with Anna Maria Forssberg
The ship Vasa foundered on its maiden voyage in 1628, was raised from the seabed in 1961 and is now exhibited in the Vasa Museum. During this in-depth visit, researcher at the Vasa Museum, Dr. Anna Maria Forssberg, will you show you around the ship and its many sculptures.

The ship was commissioned by order of King Gustav Adolf of Sweden as part of the military expansion he initiated in the war with Poland-Lithuania (1621–1629). It was designed and constructed by Dutch-born master shipbuilder Henrik Hybertsson, who worked in the Stockholm shipyard in the early seventeenth century. Richly decorated as a symbol of the king’s ambitions for Sweden, the Vasa was one of the most powerfully-armed vessels in the world. However, the ship was dangerously unstable, and capsized and sank almost immediately after leaving Stockholm’s harbor. During the 1961 recovery, thousands of artifacts were found, providing scholars with invaluable insights into details of naval warfare, shipbuilding techniques, and everyday life in early seventeenth-century Sweden.

The seventeenth-century warship Vasa seen from port (photo: Peter Isotalo CC 3.0 BY-SA)

The seventeenth-century warship Vasa seen from port
(photo: Peter Isotalo CC 3.0 BY-SA)

The Vasa was decorated with more than 700 wooden sculptures, carved by masters with German and Dutch origins and painted in bright colors. They depict a rich variety of sea creatures, grotesques, Roman emperors, mythological heroes, biblical figures, lions – and the young king Gustav Adolf himself – attesting to both royal glory and military power. The sculptures will receive special attention during the visit. The museum has been working on a new publication about the sculptures, and the staff would appreciate any input from CODART members relating to them.