Qatar to host first major Dutch art exhibition in Gulf

February 6, 2011

Qatar will next month host the first major exhibition of Dutch art in the Gulf.

“The Golden Age of Dutch Painting, Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum” at the Museum of Islamic Art, will be held from March 12 to June 6, and aims to introduce Dutch art, which revolutionised the art scene at the time by breaking away from Baroque style, to the local community and the region.

Organisers said that the exhibition, presented by Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) in collaboration with Rijksmuseum, an Amsterdam-based Dutch national museum, will bring in some of the best collections of Dutch paintings.

The 44 paintings, among the best in the Rijksmuseum’s collection, loaned to QMA, give a wide-ranging view of the artists, lifestyle and topography of Holland in the 17th century.

They include works by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer. Most paintings in the exhibition were produced in the 17th century, a period of prosperity for the Netherlands.

Dutch art of that century is characterised by close attention to detail as well as its vivid realism. Artists took great pride in their ability to imitate nature so effectively with their brushes that they could actually fool painting viewers.

A catalogue to accompany the exhibition will be available in both Arabic and English for visitors. There will also be educational activities for children and film screenings, Qatari daily The Peninsula reported.

In neighbouring Bahrain, the exhibition of six Italian paintings dating to the Renaissance period continues to attract large crowds of art lovers.

The exhibition, the first of its kind in the Gulf, showcases works of famous 16th century painters from Lombardy and Veneto, two regions in the north of Italy.

The work by Tiziano, Jacopo Tintoretto, Paris Bordon, Sebastiano Del Piombo, Giulio Campi and Pietro Della Vecchia has been on display since February 3.

The six paintings are portraits of historic personalities who include a Venetian Doge, a prelate, a noblewoman and a painter, and reflect the era often described by experts as a landmark in the development of world painting and in the history of figurative arts in general.

“I have never thought that I would see such a significant Italian art collection in Manama, but I am glad that this bold dream has become a wonderful reality,” Enrico Padula, the Italian ambassador to Bahrain, said as artists, arts-lovers and diplomats attended the opening ceremony at the Bahrain National Museum.

The exhibition is past of the annual Italian festival that seeks to “highlight the beauty, creativity and authenticity of the Italian culture during two weeks in Bahrain.”



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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