The Golden Age of Painting – 1600-1800

Posted filed underOld Masters, Shows.


Even the 17th and 18th centuries had their version of “rock stars” notably the painters: Rembrandt, Rubens and Ruisdael. These Old Masters are just some of the acclaimed artists of the period from across the European continent represented in the exhibition The Golden Age of Painting, 1600-1800 from the Speed Art Museum on view at the Flint Institute of Arts, the show’s only Midwest venue. The paintings in the exhibition chronicle the tremendous changes that swept Europe over this 200-year time span. Religious upheavals, advances in the sciences, exploration and the establishment of trade routes to new lands, transformed long held views on the way the universe worked and the place of humans within that universe. The treasures on loan from the permanent collection of the Speed Art Museum of Louisville, Kentucky, include works by artists from The Netherlands, Flanders, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and England. Highlighted in the show are paintings that illustrate the popular subjects of that age, such as: landscapes, portraits, still lifes, religious paintings, interpretations of classical antiquity and scenes from every day life. The images rendered by many of the greatest artists of that era, offer viewers a glimpse into this rich cultural period of history. Featured in the exhibit are Rembrandt van Rijn’s Portrait of a Forty-Year-Old Woman dated 1634 and one of the earliest examples from a pair of husband and wife portraits by the artist known to exist. Visitors to the exhibition will see works by the celebrated Flemish painters, Anthony van Dyck, represented with Portrait of a Woman from 1635 and Peter Paul Rubens The Princes of the Church Adoring the Eucharist. (It should be noted that the FIA has in its own permanent collection a painting by Rubens that is located in the Bray Gallery.) The artist William Hogarth, an engraver and portraitist best known for satirizing English society, depicts an interior genre scene of a conversation between two gentlemen in a painting from 1730. Other important artists featured in the exhibition include: Thomas Gainsborough, founder of the English landscape tradition and the great portrait artist, Thomas Lawrence; Italian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo; German painter, Adam Elsheimer; and 18th century French painter Jean Francois de Troy.

Image above: Jan Brueghel the Elder, Hendrik van Balen I (Flemish, 1568 – 1625, 1575 – 1632), A Bacchanal. Oil on panel, ca. 1608 – 1616. 23 5/16 x 32 1/2 inches. Collection of the Speed Art Museum, Museum purchase,1967.24