Friday, 30 August 2013

Verspronck's Quiet Grandeur

Detail of Johannes Verspronck, Portrait of Willemina van Braeckel,
1637. Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem
My recent trip to the Netherlands included a visit to the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem. This lovely museum in a seemingly quiet small 17th century street just outside the centre of town is just a delight to walk to. The town of Haarlem still shows an abundance in 17th century - Golden Age - streets and houses and so when you enter the little street where the Frans Hals Museum is you are already in proper 17th century mood.
Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem

Thursday, 29 August 2013

A little Verspronck....

A quickie to break the series of long is a late night,  I am reading on Rembrandt and Johannes Verspronck. Here is a detail from Verspronck's 'Regentesses of the Haarlem Orphanage', 1642. Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands.

She looks so calm, almost regal, yet so lifelike. Her collar is the brightest white yet her stare is what grabs you. Perhaps it is the only colour in the black and white composition that makes you focus on rosy cheeks' liveliness. She is young, but not so young as to be naive and has a steadfast maternal glance. Her collar is perfect and fine, neatly painted but finished with soft edges. Her gown sober and neat. She doesn't smile yet looks friendly. The brush strokes seem to echo this in their neat but soft approach.
Johannes Verspronck, detail of
"Regentesses of the Haarlem Orphanage"
Frans Hals Museum
Haarlem, The Netherlands

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Women Painting Women in Glasgow

Women Painting Women UK 

group exhibition 

Glasgow Art Exposure Gallery 

20 September - 8 October 2013

  Back in 2009 a few brilliant American female figurative painters began a blog called 'Women Painting Women'. Sadie J. Valeri, Alia El-Bermani, and Diane Feissel wanted to celebrate and attract attention for women artists (so often only represented by galleries on the canvas only, and not painting the canvas as artists). The blog was a huge success and is still going strong. Since then the blog has grown into quite a movement and two exhibitions have been held in the US celebrating dozens of female figurative artists. Although it remains sadly true that generally more male than female artists are shown in galleries and museums and more male artists are celebrated in the media, I find it very interesting to see how female artists have a different approach to painting in comparison to male artists. Often (not always, don't test me!) one can recognise whether a painting was painted by a man or a woman. I would not detect a difference in quality but there often is a difference in approach, mood, and style. A group exhibition that centres on female artists, therefore, is not only a rare occasion but also interesting in appreciating different ways of 'seeing'.

On 20 September 2013 no less than 7 Women Painting Women exhibitions will open simultaneously in the US and the UK.

Sunday, 25 August 2013


I have just returned from a trip to The Netherlands and Belgium to explore my 'Lace Trail' further and study 17th Century portraiture.  My first stop was Bruges in Belgium where I enjoyed some waffles, had lovely dinners but also one foul lunch, got swamped by the tourists, but also found completely empty streets, dealt with my broken-down car and found the loveliest lace shop (and owner) ever. I walked all over town, but I was, however, on the hunt for just one thing: LACE.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Isaack Luttichuys and Flemish Bobbin Lace

Isaack Luttichuys, Portrait of Young Woman with
Ostrich Feather in her hand, 1656
I just found this lovely painting by Isaack Luttichuys, (1616, London – 1673, Amsterdam), in the collection of the the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I am off to The Netherlands next week and will be visiting the Rijksmuseum a few times. I hope this painting will be on display. It is by a fairly unknown 'society' painter, Isaak Luttichuys who came to The Netherlands in the early seventeenth century. He was the son of Dutch parents, born in London, but moved to Holland at an early age. Very little is known about his life, training or career.


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