040308: Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste - Dreaming of the South

Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien - Dreaming of the Souht - Italy painted by the Dutch Light and sun in the luggage “Do you know the land where the lemons bloom?” was a desire known to many long before Goethe put them into his famous lines in “Mignon’s Song”. Already during the 16th century Flemish and Dutch painters such as Maerten van Heemskerck, Herman Postma and Lambert Sustris travelled to the Rome of Bramante, Raffael and Michelangelo. In comparison to today, Rome was rather small during the Renaissance and antique sites were yet to be discovered; they were hidden under hills on which goats still lazily grazed. The Domus Aurea as well as many other antique buildings had not yet been excavated. However, Rome was already then a blooming city in which artists had a good chance to find work. Light, sun, warm climate, landscape, the ancient world of Rome and Italian artists as inspiring examples – this was a perfect mixture for the artists from the North. After their three to four year sojourn they returned to the dark north, literally drugged by the light and the sun, which they had packed into their luggage to take back home. The small format paintings created after their visits to Italy were bathed in light – much more so than before their travels. The landscapes reminded of Italy, but they showed cows grazing on pastures as they only do so in the North. The ancient goddesses lost their transcendental aura and were transformed into corpulent blond maidens. But all of this was greatly acclaimed in the North. Further generations of artists travelled to the South and returned with paintings that sold like hot cakes. Today their names are practically unknown, while their counterparts, who specialized on the “darker” paintings like Rembrandt or van Goyen, have become world famous. Nicolaes Berchem is an exception - without ever having been in the South he painted in the “light manner” Currently 110 paintings by Flemish and Dutch artists from the 16th to the 18th century are displayed at the Galerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste (Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts) in Vienna. In addition to the high-quality pieces of art the gallery itself possesses, one can view loaned works, which are rarely shown. It is a shame that the galleries own paintings hardly ever attract the attention they should. The gallery deserves a lot more than to just be known among “insiders”. Much more light should be shed onto the gallery itself... Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien 1010 Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, until 09.03.08

Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien. Kunstsammlungen
1010 Wien, Schillerplatz 3, 1. Stock
Tel: +43 1 588 16 2201, Fax: +43 1 588 16 2299
Email: kunstsammlungen@akbild.ac.at
Öffnungszeiten: Di-So, Feiertag 10-18 h

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