Exhibition: Rembrandt and His Contemporaries

23 February 2012
Exhibition: Rembrandt and His Contemporaries
“Rembrandt and His Contemporaries - The Golden Age of Dutch Art” exhibition opened to visitors at SSM.

As Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum (SSM) celebrates its 10th anniversary, it opens the exhibition “Where Darkness Meets Light… Rembrandt and His Contemporaries - The Golden Age of Dutch Art” to the public. The exhibition marks the 400th year of diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Netherlands and features works from the Rijksmuseum as well as one of the world’s leading private collections, which are being displayed for the first time in Turkey. The Turkish and Dutch governments are the diplomatic co-sponsors of the exhibition, which are supported by a number of major Dutch companies operating in Turkey. The main sponsors are Sabancı Holding and ING Bank and Philips is also among the sponsors. The exhibition is being held with contributions from Unilever and Shell and the service sponsors are Grand Hyatt Hotel, the Park Hyatt Istanbul-Maçka Palas Hotel and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. 

Besides Rembrandt, the exhibition presents a total number of 110 works; 73 paintings, 19 drawings and 18 objects by 59 artists including major representatives of Dutch art. Additionally, the exhibition presents the painting entitled “The Love Letter” by Johannes Vermeer, who remained an obscure figure for centuries with his works being attributed to other artists for a long time. Although only 35 works are attributed to Vermeer today, he is universally acknowledged as a major artist of his time. Works by great artists including Frans Hals, Jan Steen and Jacob van Ruisdael are on display in the exhibition, which presents the splendour of the Golden Age of Dutch Art, considered to be one of the most exciting periods in art history.  

Giving more information about the exhibition the Director of SSM, Dr Nazan Ölçer, said, “Rembrandt and his Contemporaries is the first large scale exhibition about Dutch Art in Turkey. With this exhibition, we aim to show how the novelty of Dutch Art influenced European Art, the master technique of light use, as well as providing a broad framework tackling the atmosphere of the period and its reflections on art. The exhibition shows a number of themes pertaining to the Dutch society, as well as urban and rural life in 17th century Dutch Republic through the eyes of the masters of painting. This vision of the Netherlands, which became one of the most developed countries in European sciences and art thanks to the wealth it accumulated through overseas trade in the 17th century, presents one of the most dynamic transformations in European history through paintings. Organizing the exhibition in the 400th year of diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Netherlands, raises our excitement. We are very thankful to the Turkish and Dutch Governments. Without the great support of our sponsors, such a major exhibition couldn’t have been realized. We thank our main sponsors Sabancı Holding and ING Bank, as well as Philips. And we thank Unilever and Shell for their contributions along with our service sponsors Grand Hyatt Hotel, the Park Hyatt İstanbul-Maçka Palas Hotel and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. We invite all art lovers who want to explore all the glory of 17th  century Dutch Art to our museum.

The Director of the Collections of Rijksmuseum, Taco Dibbits added “We are very glad that pieces of our collection which consists of renowned art works are being exhibited for the first time in Turkey at Sakıp Sabancı Museum. Another feature of the exhibition is the dialogue of the paintings with the Ottoman period, and embracing both countries’ art scene correlatively. For us, it is of the utmost significance that on the 400th year of relations between Turkey and the Netherlands, very important pieces of our collection are being exhibited in Istanbul. In terms of arts and culture, we believe that the roots of the countries’ relationship will even grow stronger. In the first instance I would like to thank my colleague Dr. Nazan Ölçer and also the young and eager team of the Sakıp Sabancı Museum.”

The ‘Rembrandt and His Contemporaries – The Golden Age of Dutch Art’ exhibition reflects all of the major themes dominating the Golden Age of Dutch Art, including urban life, portraits, still lifes, overseas power and trade. In this context, the paintings tell stories about the social and economic dynamics of this period. For instance, the exhibition is an embodiment of the potential art bears for reflecting the specific features of a given period through presenting the background of the transition in the “delftware”, the ceramics produced in the town of Delft. The Delftware were characterized by a unique style in their initial periods while they later started imitating Chinese porcelain.

 “Rembrandt and His Contemporaries - The Golden Age of Dutch Art” exhibition will be open to art lovers until July 10th, 2012.


Press Release