Thursday, August 29, 2013

Princely Treasures at National Museum of Singapore

We went to the Princely Treasures from the House of Liechtenstein exhibition at National Museum of Singapore.

This exhibition features  91 exquisite works including paintings, prints and engravings, tapestries, sculptures, and rare decorative art objectives by European masters from the High Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical and Biedermeier era.

Portraits of the royal family.

More rare artworks from their collection.

It's always an interesting experience for me to see the artworks in details.

I was impressed by the Pietra Dura Ornate Chest. "The overall design of the chest is inspired by Venetian furniture of the late 16th century. The skill of the stonecutter can be seen in the way the natural shades of various stones have been assembled and fitted to produce small, charming scenes on the panels..."

Art of the Renaissance. "The term Renaissance is often used to describe the renewed interest in and rediscovery of classical culture in Europe. It began first in Florence, Italy around 1400 and slightly later in northern Europe..."

Baroque Art. "The term Baroque is derived from the Portuguese word barroco, meaning 'irregular pearl.' It was coined at the end of the 18th century as a criticism of and reaction against 17th-century architecture and decoration. Its florid style was viewed as being opposed to classical Renaissance art forms...Baroque painting in particular is characterised by an overwhelming richness of colour and solid forms that are assembled in dynamic compositions. It achieves theatricality through strong contrast of light and dark, and highly contorted poses..."

"The figure of the Roman goddess of love illustrates the classical notion of an idealised female form with harmonious proportions. The clear contours and subtly weighted stance give a natural grace to the form. She is shown here with her arms shielding her breasts and pubis - a gesture that at once conceals and reveals - thus emphasising her sexuality. The dolphin is traditionally associated with the goddess..."

Artworks by Peter Paul Rubens. "Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp) was one of the most important Barroque artists of the 17th century and enjoyed great success during his lifetime. Profoundly imaginative, he synthesised diverse artistic styles and techniques to produce monumental works that are characterised by a tremendous vitality. Rubens was among the first to make the small compositional oil sketch (modello) significant. He was inspired by Italian artists such as Titian who produced such sketches in preparation for large compositions. In his coloured sketches, Rubens combined drawing and colour in a way that the distinction were maintained yet unified, thus revealing the spontaneity of artistic expression. The loose, open, sketchy brush marks point to the articulation of the idea, while the vivid pigments show the fulfilment of that initial thought in paint..."

Allegory of Africa by Jan Boeckhorst. "This painting, from the series Four Continents, Boeckhorst offers a feminised representation of the continent as a young woman in a Venetian-styled shift. She wears chains on her left arm, possibly an allusion to the slave trade..."

Vengeance is Sworn by Francesco Hayez. "The works were inspired by an unpublished novel by Andrea Maffei. The realist stage-like space, spot-lit illumination and exquisite Venetian backdrop evoke a theatrical setting. In the centre are Maria and Rachel, who has just informed Maria about the deceit of her lover. The narrative of intrigue is compressed in the quotidian gestures if the two figures - the distraught Maria removing her mask and pushing away Rachel, who tries to comfort her. Hayez' skill can be seen in the smooth elegant forms, dramatic tonal contrasts, rose-pink and blue hues, and the rich textures of the women's dresses..."

The exhibition also displayed historical portrait paintings from the Singapore's National Collection.

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