140113: Le Musée d’Art ancien - Jordaens and the Antique

Le Musée d’Art ancien Jordaens and the Antique 12.10.2012 – 27.01.2013 Effective, calculated and somewhat superficial By Roland Groß On Brussels' so-called "Art Mountain" – the venue of the Instrument Museum, the Magritte Museum, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, and the Palace of Fine Arts - there's something genuinely Flemish right now. Primarily, this refers to the Baroque artist, Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678), whose special involvement with the antiques is spread out in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts. In parallel, the earthy retrospective Flemish expressionist, Constant Permeke (1886-1952) also triumphs in the Palace of Fine Arts. Completely different from the two unquestionably important contemporaries, Peter Paul Rubens and Anthonis van Dyck, both of whom he outlived (after 1641) by almost four decades, Jordaens concentrates primarily on the people's lives in his Flemish habitat, which he never left during the entire course of his life. Van Dyck, and above all, Rubens – those were the superstars, internationalists, kings of painters of the Baroque era. However, Jordaens was also a businessman, specifically serving the taste of an almost petit bourgeois art and entertainment cosmos in the upper-class Antwerp of the tradespeople; including the unlimitedly varied illustration of popular proverbs, which above all made him so well known. But with this exhibition, Brussels plans to correct the commonplace banality where Jordaens is concerned. The oeuvre contains about 1000 works, amongst which, however, are more than 500 workshop products. Jordaens became known as a lover of a frequently repeated, large-formatted accessory theatre composed of mythological and biblical themes. From a biographical point of view, there's not much more to say about Jordaens than that he painted and painted. In his temperamental early phase from 1615 to 1630, Jordaens especially soaked up the artistic achievements of his time like a sponge, but relinquished the fluids that he absorbed, back again unfiltered. He borrowed the dramatic management of light from the Italian Caravaggio, the lusciously contorted body language from Peter Paul Rubens, without however, ever being able to achieve the latter's anatomical brilliance and humanity. Nothing is ever scrutinized, commented upon or indeed called into question in any of his paintings. Everything is always effectively calculated at the cost of overwhelming the current theme with persons and superficial decoration. The chronologically displayed Jordaens project is fanned out into nine myth-laden chapters. Whereby here, too, the popular Jordaens doesn't just accidentally favour the lively spectrum of the theme: from Aesop's Fables to Homer's "Odyssey" and Ovid's "Metamorphoses". "The Fable of the Farmer", after Aesop, addresses the clash between shaking the moral index finger to indicate temperance and a glimpse into the now pleasure-oriented structure of the human being (and the Flemish). The versions of the theme begin in 1615 and in 1645, show a farmer with the apparently caricatured face of the artist. The numerous allegories of fertility and excess are also compliant with the essence of the artist. The exhibition attempts to refute Jordaens’ "middle class image" by pointing to the aristocrat Landgrave Wilhelm VIII of Hessen Kassel who acquired ten Jordaens creations – since then, Kassel has been endowed with Jordaens’ museum pieces and will, as of February 2013, be the German venue for this exhibition project. Le Musée d’Art ancien 1000 Brussels, Rue de la Régence 3 http://www.fine-arts-museum.be Opening hours: 10.00 – 17.00 hours

Le Musée d'Art ancien
1000 Brüssel, Rue de la Régence 3
Öffnungszeiten: 10 - 17 h

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