Masterpieces From The Leiden Collection And The Musée du Louvre
14th February-18th May
words: Rebecca Dickson
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is quickly becoming one of the world’s most exciting art galleries. This latest show marks its first truly international exhibition; complimenting the Museum’s ethos to ‘focus on what unites us’; and reflecting their belief that the story of human creativity transcends individual cultures and civilisations.
Displaying stunning paintings and drawings, the exhibition has been curated to take us on an artistic journey, lead by Rembrandt and Vermeer, through Leiden and Amsterdam, during the Dutch Golden Age. We even get to feast our eyes on Johannes Vermeer’s Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, from The Leiden Collection and The Lacemaker from the Musée du Louvre. These two beautiful paintings hang beside each other for the first time in 300 years, having originally been cut from the same bolt of canvas.
The people of the Netherlands became world leaders in trade, science and the arts, which has been reflected in the sophisticated curation by Blaise Ducos, Chief Curator of Dutch and Flemish paintings at the Musée du Louvre; and Lara Yeager-Crasselt, Curator of The Leiden Collection and a specialist in seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish art. As Blaise Ducos declared “During the 17th century, exceptional economic, social and political circumstances enabled one country, The Republic of the United Provinces, to become the world’s leading economic power. The Dutch were living in what they considered a ‘Golden Age’. In this context, major artistic figures like Rembrandt or Vermeer flourished. Through the confrontation of masterpieces from the Musée du Louvre and The Leiden Collection, this exhibition tells this extraordinary story. This show does not intend to provide a panorama of Dutch painting in the 17th century, but by mentioning different glimpses, first and foremost through Leiden’s sight; it refers to the culture of artistic exchange within which Vermeer worked.”