Thursday, October 30, 2008


Guercino, Allegory of Painting and Sculpture, 1637.

Forgive my long absence! After a particularly troublesome spot in my research (it's quite hard to find thorough examinations of 17th Century Dutch kitchen habits), I decided to take a trip down to Amsterdam, where I spent well over a week taking in the beauty of one of the Netherlands' crown jewels: The Rijksmuseum! I have been to many of the world's most famous museums (the Prado, the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art...), but something of my own Dutch blood brings me forever back to the Rijksmuseum, and whenever I begin to lose my creative verve, it takes only a visit to the Rijksmuseum's Old Masters' wing to rejuvenate myself.

And so it seems odd that I should highlight this painting, Guercino's Allegory of Painting and Sculpture, which is an Italian piece (obviously) of the High Baroque period. But bear with me! The pure focus here, given the elementary symmetrical composition and base flatness of the figures, is the allegory at hand – the transferral of creative energy from one artist to another, and thus, inside a single painting (a meta-allegory), to us as well: a surreptitious glimpse into the artist's genius and reverie. A beautiful, classical example of the creative process: from heavily impasted multi-chambered bong, to brush, and then to brush again, and then to our eyes – relish this!

1 comment:

Hermann Wundrum said...

It comes full circle, Jan! Our subjects, locked and steady in a shared concentration; the rendering by Guercino, their concise captor; and your quick but fruitful note from the halls in Amsterdam. A delicate chain of transference, a transcendent braid of subject, master, admirer and instructor.

I must ask our readers to forgive me for vigorously clasping my hand to Jan's shoulders and for sharing with him the kind of complimentary embrace that I am sure many have exchanged with an invigorated colleague.

Cheers, Jan!