SOURCE: Birmingham Museum of Art

Birmingham Museum of Art

October 17, 2014 09:00 ET

Dutch Masters Coming to Birmingham

Small Treasures: Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Their Contemporaries Opens January 31

BIRMINGHAM, AL--(Marketwired - October 17, 2014) - The Birmingham Museum of Art will host an exhibition featuring works of the greatest masters of the Dutch and Flemish Golden Age titled, Small Treasures: Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, and Their Contemporaries. The exhibition, which was organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art and is sponsored by PNC, will be on view from January 30 - April 26, 2015.

Small Treasures brings together 40 small-scale oil paintings, most of which are no more than ten inches in height, by 28 artists who lived and worked in what is today the Netherlands and Belgium during the 17th century. These small paintings played an important part of many artists' practices but have historically been overlooked by scholars and museum exhibitions. The exhibition will, for the first time, explore this little known field and show the extraordinary richness of this genre of work.

"During the Golden Age of Dutch and Flemish painting in the 17th century, artists demonstrated more than ever before their love for minute and precise detail by painting on a small scale. At the time, the incredible technical skills of these masters were highly revered and one can imagine they joy and wonder people felt when examining and exploring these precious gems. I believe modern audiences will be delighted to rediscover the charming details that lie within these works," says Robert Schindler, Curator of European Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

"We are so pleased to partner with the North Carolina Museum of Art, whose research and scholarship allows us to bring these marvelous paintings exclusively to the Southeast. To be able to offer, for example, two rare Vermeers, alongside delicate works from Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and many others, is wonderful opportunity for our community. The Small Treasures exhibition will offer our visitors the chance to carefully admire the striking detail work by some of the most highly regarded artists of all time," says Gail Andrews, R. Hugh Daniel Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art.

More than half of the works in the exhibition are drawn from private collections, some being on public view for the first time. Highlights of the exhibition include:

Johannes Vermeer, Girl with the Red Hat (c. 1665-66), 9 1/2 x 7 1/8 in. (pictured above) -- This image of a girl wearing an exotic, red-feathered hat and cool blue brocade robe shows her looking out with an intimacy and expectancy unique to Vermeer's oeuvre. This is the smallest work Vermeer is known to have painted.

Johannes Vermeer, Young Woman Seated at a Virginal (c. 1670-72), 9 7/8 x 7 7/8 in. -- Owing to advances in the technical examination of paintings, as well as better scholarship on Vermeer's working process and knowledge of his late pictures, opinion regarding the authenticity of this work has undergone correction in recent years: Young Woman Seated at a Virginal is now fully accepted as a Vermeer.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Bearded Old Man (c. 1630), 7 1/4 x 6 11/16 in. -- Recently accepted as an autograph work by Rembrandt, this painting is an example of a tronie (Dutch for character study). Painted only a year or two prior to the painter's move from his hometown of Leiden to Amsterdam, this small panel exhibits Rembrandt's deep reservoir of skills, as the expressive features of the old man are coarsely painted yet highly descriptive.

Anthony van Dyck, Portrait of Nicholas Rockox (1636), 6 in. diam. (round) -- This rare grisaille oil sketch of one of Antwerp's most important politicians and patrons shows van Dyck's masterful ability to portray intimacy. The work is a comparatively recent addition to the oeuvre of Van Dyck, as it was only rediscovered at an auction in 1989.

"This important exhibition marks PNC's fourth opportunity to support the Birmingham Museum of Art, since coming to Alabama in 2012," said Brian Bucher, PNC Regional President. "We remain firmly committed to thoughtful collaborations that produce impactful arts and cultural programming, and the Birmingham Museum is a leader and placemaker in this effort. We are grateful for their vision and continued effort to bring globally significant works of art to the Magic City."

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    2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd
    Birmingham, AL 35203