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Flying Dutchmen | Galéria mesta Bratislavy | Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic


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Flying Dutchmen

Mirbach Palace (show Contact)
14. 12. 2006 - 18. 3. 2007
Curator: Martin Čičo

On the big show of masterpieces of Netherlands art in Slovakia under the name Wandering Dutchmen takes part also the City Gallery of Bratislava, which has the second largest collection of Netherlands painting and graphic art in Slovakia. In the Mirbach Palace of the City Gallery of Bratislava in the curator’s conception of Martin Čičo a part is presented dedicated to the era of Mannerism and the art of graphics where more than 90 graphic works and 3 paintings are presented. They are
masterworks by the most important graphic artists of the last third of the 16th century and of the beginning of the 17th century whose creation was anchored in the indigenous surroundings, but also in the points of work abroad. Just like the art of Mannerism also the creation of these renowned graphic artists and reproduction carvers had an exceptional character and it co-set the tone of the art of Mannerism which had an international character. One the most important creators was Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617), who connected the home tradition with Italian influences of Renaissance and late-Antic art into a unique form and distinctly influenced the art of carving not only at home but also abroad. To the jewels belong in particular his own carvings (for example the prints from the Passion cycle, Morning, St. Hieronymus), but also the reproductions of his works (Bacchus, Venus and Ceres). Interesting examples are also imitations of his Passion scenes, created as forgeries. On the exhibition are presented also works by his most important pupil Jacques de Gheyn (1565-1629). Accept for the most developed indigenous centres of the “black art”, mainly Antwerp and Haarlem another important point of work of Netherlands Mannerists was mainly the Prague court of the emperor Rudolf II. The emperor Rudolf was a passionate collector of mainly contemporary art and if it was possible he employed his favourite authors as his court painters who fulfilled his concepts. In this way he gradually created in Prague an important artistic circle where some outstanding artists of their era met, like for example Hans von Aachen (1552-1615), Hans Vredeman de Vries (1527-1606?) and his son Paul Vredeman de Vries (1567-after 1616), Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1601) and from the graphic artists mainly Aegidius Sadeler (around 1570-1629) whose works are represented also at the exhibition and which belong to jewels of European art. At the exhibition are represented e.g. portraits of the emperor Rudolf II., his general Carl Bonaventura Buquoy or the Persian attaché at the Prague court from Aegidius Sadeler or the famous art piece Diana and Actaeon by Rudolf’s court painter Joseph Heintz (1564-1609) in graphic reproduction by the emperor’s court graphic artist. Hendrick Goltzius gave Rudolf a cycle of Roman Heroes which is at the exhibition represented with three artworks. The culture of the rulers’ courts document also other works: cycle Gardens by Hans Vredeman de Vries, cycle Hunts created according to proposals of Jan Stradanus (1523-1605) who worked in Florence for the Medici. Different genres are presented with biblical histories, for Mannerism typical allegories, but also landscape or view at Prague from the most important European edition of views at cities Civitates orbis terrarum. All these works show high professionalism of the carvers of reproducing graphics like the members of the families Collaert, Galle and Jan Saenredam (1565-1602) and others. Many of them belonged not only to very skilled graphics craftsmen creating reproductions who could copy the style of the creator of the artwork but also publishers of their own and also prints produced by others.
Accept for a great amount of graphic prints at the exhibition are presented also three very precious paintings two of them are originating from the collection of Rudolf II., from his Prague picture gallery. Those are the artworks by Hans van Aachen Carrying of the Cross and Paul Vredeman de Vries, whose picturing of an architectural motif in central perspective belonged to the most popular in its genre.

To other peaks of the exhibition belong finally the works by the greatest Dutch artist of the 17th century Harmensz Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669). Concerning the time he oversteps the era of dying off the art of Mannerism but right on his example as the contrast to carvers “manner” it is very well visible what were the aims of the Mannerists and on the other side the genius of Rembrandts free drawing in which he created his unrepeatable etchings.

Martin Čičo, Custodian of Old Master Graphic Art


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