EntertainmentExperience a Record-Breaking Display of Rembrandts in Toronto

Experience a Record-Breaking Display of Rembrandts in Toronto

Rare and Exceptional Dutch Artworks Featured in Special Exhibition at AGO

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is currently showcasing a unique collection of 17th century Dutch paintings in its exhibition titled “Painted Presence: Rembrandt and His Peers.” This extraordinary display includes 15 meticulously crafted still-life paintings, intricate interiors, and captivating portraits borrowed from The Bader Collection at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Co-curated by Adam Harris Levine, AGO’s Associate Curator of European Art, and Suzanne van de Meerendonk, Bader Curator of European Art at Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queens University, the exhibition offers a glimpse into the world of Dutch artistry.

A Highlight on Rembrandt and His Artistic Circle

Central to the exhibition are seven works either by or associated with Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) – the largest collection of Rembrandt pieces ever displayed together in Toronto’s public museum. Among these works are two prominent oil portraits, including the impressive Portrait of a Woman with a Lap Dog (c. 1665) and Agness Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo (1658), as well as three smaller head studies and two paintings attributed to the artist. Renowned for their ability to capture reality in their paintings, Rembrandt and his contemporaries were admired for their remarkable skills as portraitists in the 17th century.

A Glimpse into 17th Century Dutch Society

Through these exquisite artworks, viewers are transported back in time and offered insights into the aspirations and interests of 17th century Dutch society. Adam Harris Levine, AGO Associate Curator of European Art, emphasizes the significance of these paintings as records of societal values and beliefs, highlighting themes such as fashion, vanity, trade, and perspectives on aging. The paintings serve as a window into a bygone era, providing a rich tapestry of cultural nuances and societal norms.

Exploring the Unique Qualities of Dutch Masterpieces

Suzanne van de Meerendonk, Bader Curator of European Art at Agnes Etherington Art Centre, expresses gratitude for the opportunity to share these treasured paintings with the Toronto audience during the Art Centre’s construction phase. The exhibition allows for a side-by-side comparison of artworks attributed to Rembrandt and his contemporaries, shedding light on the distinct characteristics of each piece. The challenge of identifying a true Rembrandt work is emphasized, particularly when distinguishing between the master’s own creations and those of talented artists influenced by his studio.

Unveiling the Mystique of Renowned Paintings

The AGO’s showcased Portrait of a Woman with a Handkerchief, c. 1644, exemplifies the complex nature of attributing artworks to Rembrandt and his circle. The blurred lines between works by Rembrandt and his pupils, such as Carel Fabritius (1622-1654), underscore the intricacies of artistic interpretation and authentication. This ongoing dialogue around attributions adds layers of intrigue to the exhibition, inviting viewers to unravel the mysteries behind each masterpiece.

In conclusion, the exhibition “Painted Presence: Rembrandt and His Peers” offers a captivating journey through Dutch artistry, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in a world of rich cultural heritage and artistic excellence. Through a careful curation of masterpieces from The Bader Collection, AGO continues to uphold its reputation as a premier destination for art enthusiasts and cultural connoisseurs.


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