George A. Papandreou - President of Socialist International - Former Prime Minister
George A. Papandreou - President of Socialist International - Former Prime Minister
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Rembrandt-Caravaggio at the Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh Museum

From February 24th to June 18th, 2006

To mark the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt’s birth in 2006 the Van Gogh Museum presents an exhibition by the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum featuring a remarkable confrontation between the two geniuses of Baroque art: Rembrandt van Rijn and his Italian counterpart, Caravaggio. In this first exhibition to juxtapose works by these masters of Rembrandtchiaroscuro, over 25 monumental paintings from various international museums provide a visual spectacle with powerful images of love, emotion and passion. Rembrandt-Caravaggio shows exclusively in Amsterdam. Rabobank is the chief sponsor of this unique joint project by the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) died four years after Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) was born. Although they never met, there are many parallels between the two masters and their work. Both were revolutionary innovators in the art of Southern and Northern Europe respectively. And while they stemmed from different traditions of painting, they each developed an individual, dramatic visual idiom.

Caravaggio’s work, which has not been shown in the Netherlands since 1952, is represented in this exhibition by major items from international museums. Masterpieces such as The Supper at Emmaus from London, Amor Vincit Omnia from Berlin and the Sacrifice of Isaac from Florence are in Amsterdam for the show. Famous paintings by Rembrandt from various museums abroad are also featured in the exhibition, including the Blinding of Samson from CaravaggioFrankfurt and Belshazzar’s Feast from London. Most of the paintings are displayed in pairs of works by the two artists.

Also on display in the exhibition is work by the Caravaggists Honthorst and Van Baburen, Dutch artists who were influenced by Caravaggio while in Italy. It was through these painters that Rembrandt learned of Caravaggio and began practising in the Caravaggist style in his early years, as some of the paintings in the exhibition show. Rembrandt’s own themes, style and method are also explored.

Van Gogh and Rembrandt

Parallel to Rembrandt-Caravaggio, the print room in the exhibition wing presents a show which brings together Van Gogh and Rembrandt. Around 25 paintings, drawings and letters by the two artists reveal how Van Gogh discovered Rembrandt’s oeuvre and how his artistic appreciation of the old master developed. Special focus is placed on The raising of Lazarus which Van Gogh painted in 1890 after Rembrandt’s eponymous etching, providing a colour interpretation of the 17th-century original. The presentation is compiled by guest curator Prof. Peter Hecht of Utrecht University.

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