From 7 December 2019 the Kunsthal Rotterdam presents the exhibition ‘Masterly!’, a survey of four centuries of paintings and drawings by famous masters such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Gogh, Delacroix, Pissarro, Saenredam, Goltzius and Basquiat. The exhibition also features works by lesser-known artists such as Cornelis Saftleven and Joseph Augustus Knip. ‘Masterly!’ is the third in the series of three exhibitions hosted by the Kunsthal as part of ‘Boijmans Next Door’.
More than 130 works from the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen illuminate the remarkable relationship between draughtsmanship and painting, and demonstrate the great masters’ love of drawing. Drawings seem to bring you closer to the artist and are often much freer and more intimate than the paintings that we know by these artists. ‘Masterly!’ shows the extraordinary skill of artists who excelled in both art forms and allows visitors to compare the drawn and painted works of each artist. In some cases there is a direct connection between the drawings and the paintings, such as the Portrait of the Lütjens Family by Max Beckmann, which will be shown alongside a series of drawn portrait studies.
Paintings and drawings are inextricably linked to each other. Traditionally a painter’s education began with pen and ink, pencil, chalk and paper. Drawing was the first step in learning to record the world. Only when a student had mastered drawing could he move on to oil paint. But it was not only a way of acquiring skill. Experienced painters also used drawings to test the composition of their paintings and to make studies of landscapes, figures, animals, plants and other motifs that they would later incorporate in their painted works.
From preparation to an independent art form
Initially drawing was intended purely as a preparatory medium, but artists soon emerged who made drawings as works of art in their own right. From the seventeenth century there were artists who concentrated exclusively on drawing. That may have been because the medium was better suited to their talents and interests but also because a distinct market for drawings gradually developed. In subsequent centuries, drawing evolved to become an independent art form, but it also remained closely connected to painting and sculpture. When, in the twentieth century, art was no longer based on the real world, drawing remained an essential element within the visual arts.
World-famous collection of drawings
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection of drawings is one of the most important in the world. Because of their sensitivity to light, the drawings are rarely exhibited. In the exhibition ‘Masterly!’ at the Kunsthal, a selection of the most beautiful works on paper will be taken out of their boxes for a few months before being stored away again for years.
The exhibition is curated by Friso Lammertse and is part of ‘Boijmans Next Door’, a citywide project to keep Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection visible while the museum is closed for renovation. ‘Boijmans Next Door’ has been made possible by the Droom en Daad Foundation.
Boijmans Next Door
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s international collection is being dispersed across Rotterdam. Some 500 masterpieces will be displayed in eleven special exhibitions at eight of the museum’s neighbours under the title ‘Boijmans Next Door’. The exhibitions in these guest venues will create encounters between Boijmans’ collection and that of its neighbours. For example, the Maritime Museum will exhibit a selection of seascapes, while masterpieces by Kandinsky and others will be displayed in the Chabot Museum, opposite Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. In this way, you need not miss the museum’s collection while the building is being renovated. 'Boijmans Next Door' is made possible by stichting droom en daad.More about Boijmans Next Door
Boijmans in Transit
The museum is now closed for essential renovations. In this transitional period, the museum is making its world-class collection available elsewhere in Rotterdam and further afield. In addition to the ‘Boijmans Next Door’ projects, the museum has also created travelling exhibitions for museums all around the world. And schoolchildren in Rotterdam are being introduced to real artworks from the collection in the project ‘Boijmans in the Classroom’. Meanwhile, the construction of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen continues apace. The world’s first publicly accessible art-storage facility will open at the beginning of 2021 and will safely house and display 151,000 artworks.More about Boijmans in Transit