Last month, Leeuwarden started its year as European Capital of Culture? One of the unforeseen results and surprises so far: a re-attribution of a famous painting. The portrait shows Saskia Uylenburgh.
Open the door and enter. It is dark, but you can distinguish a black veil. It moves softly in the draft, as the door shuts behind you.
On the veil in front of you, there is a slowly sequence of photos. They date from the late 19th to early 20th century. A girl’s face slowly matures into that of a woman. The woman was famous – and framed.
It’s been a while, since I visited it and blogged about it. The exhibition shut and disappeared, to be replaced by the next one. Yet it is in the headlines again.
Early 1917, a girl from Leeuwarden – in Friesland, the Netherlands – was arrested by French police. Margaretha Zelle had long left the Netherlands and was living in Paris. There, she had become an overnight sensation as a dancer using the stage-name Mata Hari.
Flowers everywhere: swirling in wonderful patterns and brilliant colours which will delight you. You are shown 16th century bedspreads, printed fabrics, clothes, accessories, a centuries old kimono, a modern tent. Videos explain traditional methods, used to produce prints. Or they show how centuries old methods, which are slowly disappearing, can be used to create modern art. This wonderful exhibition revolves around … chintz!
Before visiting the exhibition on the mysterious people and their gold, who once lived in Bulgaria, I visited another exhibition. This one not only shows impressive late Victorian art. It also shows how one painter continues to influence our perception of the classical world.