Dutch Group Portraits from the Historical Museum Amsterdam . Over a three-month period, twelve exquisite group portraits from the Golden Age of Dutch painting will be on display in a special exhibition. The group portrait is in the specific characteristic style of Dutch portrait paintings. In addition to the civic guard paintings, pictures of heads of craft guilds - always seen by the viewer at one of their gatherings sitting around a table, should also be mentioned.
From early December 2010 onwards, the Alte Pinakothek is expecting high-ranking guests from the Historical Museum in the city of Amsterdam (Amsterdams Historisch Museum). Over a three-month period, twelve exquisite group portraits from the ‘Golden Age’ of Dutch painting will be on display in a special exhibition. Together with the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, this is the first time ever that it has been possible – outside Holland – to devote an exhibition to this most important means of expression in middle-class portraiture from the north of the Netherlands.
Apart from a few exceptions, all Dutch group portraits are still held in collections in the Netherlands today. Seven of the exhibited works have never left the country before. The Alte Pinakothek is one of the exceptions, having been able to acquire a major work by Ferdinand Bol in 1930. ‘Governors of the Amsterdam Wine Merchant’s Guild’ of 1659 is one of the highlights in the Rembrandt Room in the Alte Pinakothek. The group portraits from Amsterdam are to be arranged around this work.
The group portrait is in the specific characteristic style of Dutch portrait paintings. Members of the city’s middle-class elite – generally wealthy merchants – were regularly depicted in life-sized portraits as a group, as they had to carry out their official tasks together. Such honorary duties were always for the common good. At first these included serving on the guild of the civic guard, armed militia companies whose duties included defending the town and maintaining law and order.
The portrait served a representational and prestigious purpose for the officers of a company. In addition to the civic guard paintings, pictures of heads of craft guilds – always seen by the viewer at one of their gatherings sitting around a table, should also be mentioned. One unique variation within this genre, limited solely to Amsterdam, were the so-called ‘anatomical studies’ commissioned by the guild of surgeons. Finally, there are the ‘governor paintings’, depicting those appointed to head charitable and social institutions.
Republican, bourgeois self-confidence and the way such figures perceived their own positions, pride and the desire to represent, as well as the wish to illustrate their own life’s work in a permanent way – these are all aspects that are captured in the monumental works created by the best portrait artists of the time. Munich will be host to these paintings for just a few weeks, enabling visitors to meet the Amsterdam merchants and officers of the civic guard, governors and the heads of guilds during the ‘Golden Age’ in the Alte Pinakothek face to face.
A catalogue by Hirmer Verlag, Munich, costing Euro 14.90 at the museum, has already been published to accompany the exhibition.
Image: Govert Flinck | Civic guards in the Company under Captain Joan Huydecoper and Lieutenant Frans van Waveren, 1648
© Amsterdams Historisch Museum
Tine Nehler M. A. | Head of Press Department
Pinakotheken im Kunstareal | Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen
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Press Preview 2 December 2010, 11
Opening 02 December 2010, 18:30
Barer Strasse 29, Munich
Daily except MON 10.00 - 18.00
TUE 10.00 - 20.00
Closed: Mondays, Shrove Tuesday, May 1st, Christmas Eve (Dec. 24th), Christmas Day (Dec. 25th), New Year's Eve (Dec. 31st)
Opened: Easter Monday (April 5th), Whit Monday (May 24th)
Admission (Permanent Collection) 7 Euros | reduced 5 Euros | Including Audio-Guide
Sunday admission 1 Euro
Audio-Guide on Sundays 4,50 Euro
Combi-Ticket with Special Exhibition 10,50 Euros | reduced 7,50 Euros