Residenzgalerie Salzburg DUTCH BAROQUE

DomQuartier Salzburg | Residenzgalerie Salzburg

Dutch Baroque
During the 17th century, Dutch art flourished to such a degree that this epoch is termed the Golden Age. Interest in the representation of one's own region, in the nature and properties of things, was closely linked with new scientific insights. Optical experiments were carried out, and active exchange of ideas between artists and scholars was a matter of course. Secularisation and artists' specialism led to the separation of non-religious subjects such as still life, land- and seascape and genre scene. The painting of the great Dutch masters is an outstanding section in the collection of the Salzburg Residenzgalerie.

Clad in costly brocade, the Son takes leave of his parents. With an expansive gesture, he points to the horses harnessed ready for the journey.

The debauched behaviour of one couple tells how he dissipates his inheritance with loose women.

The inevitable conclusion to this licentious revelry is evident in the gaping abyss beside the costly vessels. At the same time, Weenix demonstrates his mastery of the almost tangible rendering of fabrics.

The splendid architectural capriccio, like the coastal landscape in the background, testifies to Jan Weenix's encounter with Roman and Italian painting.

A cow, followed closely by another, lows as it emerges from the dark stall, as though greeting the spring sunshine.

The unkempt, gesticulating figures by the pigs are probably intended to convey a moral admonition to be diligent and to begin the day's work betimes.

One cow, standing in bright sunlight, guides the viewer's eye towards the far distance, where more cattle and the outlines of a town can just be discerned. The animal's rosy, almost transparent ear is an example of Potter's precise observation.

Potter's eloquent animal pictures and scenes with impressive lighting effects were widely appreciated by the public, who saw their own "promised land" with animal husbandry and dairy farming as sources of national prosperity.

Laden with freight and passengers, rowing-boats and "smalshipe" in full sail are crossing a canal.

Fishermen are drawing their nets in. On the horizon the silhouette of a town with church tower and windmill is discernible, and further forward the huge wheel of an overtoom, a rolling bridge.

Ruysdael captures the atmosphere of the damp sea air by using muted shades of grey and blue. The monochrome mood painting is brightened and animated through the white of the clouds.

The seascape with sailing boat on the left shows a view of a greenish-yellow shoreline with cattle. The red flag fluttering from the masthead sets a vivid accent.

Ruydael's well-balanced composition expresses a peaceful clarity. The focus is on the rendering of light, space and evocative atmosphere.

Typically for the period, the painting has a wealth of symbols. Bread and wine (in the form of grapes) stand for the Eucharist; the overturned glass, the extinguished pipe ...

... and the smouldering fuse are reminiscent of the baroque idea of vanitas: remember, life is transitory!

De Heem paints the cut lemon, with its large-pored skin, as if through a magnifying glass, reflecting the widespread practice in Dutch painting of exposing the inner structure of objects.

Highlights enhance the illusion. As no other painter, de Heem combines the Dutch interest in the nature and properties of things with the Flemish baroque display of splendour.

Folded in prayer, the hands stand out from the dark background. Many coats of varnish, with the occasional white heightening, make the thin, wrinkled skin of the hands appear almost translucent ...

... by contrast, the wizened, almost toothless face of the old woman rapt in prayer seems as though formed from paint ...

... like the hood, of madder lake. As picture support, Rembrandt used a gilded copperplate, which gives a luminous effect.

Only three times in his career did Rembrandt use this technique. The combination of fine painting, "rowe manier" and material makes this picture an outstanding specimen.

Meisterwerke. Residenzgalerie Salzburg. 2015
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