Remembering Rembrandt

September 29, 2006

The birth of one of Holland’s greatest artists 400 years ago in July will be cause for celebration at the Costa Rican Art Museum in October, when the Dutch Embassy sponsors a month-long tribute.

“How does one prepare a Rembrandt exhibition without Rembrandts?” asked museum curator José Miguel Rojas in the exhibit’s catalogue, noting that most of the baroque artist’s paintings reside in the United States and Europe. “Through what stylistic connection or theme can one find the mark of his work in our local art?”

His answer, backed by the work of 38 Costa Rican artists, is the self-portrait. “Two Sides of the Mirror: In Homage to Rembrandt” opens Oct. 4, 337 years after the day Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn died in Amsterdam. The exhibition will be up through March of next year.

The Dutch master, a pioneer of self-portraiture, expressed diverse themes and emotions through 80 pictures of himself, Rojas wrote. Of artists who “look past the mirror” to something deeper, Rojas selected a continuum of Costa Rican portraits and sculptures, from the high-society paintings of Tomás Povedano (1857-1943) to the multimedia work of Héctor Burke (born in 1955), whose face emits a shadow that “looks like an extraterrestrial,” Rojas wrote.

A series of national and international experts will direct forums and workshops on Rembrandt-related themes, including two presentations in English by Laurent Sozzani of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum (Oct. 11, “Rembrandt in the Rijksmuseum,” and Oct. 12, “More In-depth Look at ‘The Peacocks with a Small Girl,’” both at 7 p.m.).

The exhibit’s inauguration is set for Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. Jurgen Ureña will host a “Rembrandt Film Forum” Oct. 5, also at 7 p.m.

On Oct. 14 and 21, Sila Chanto will lead a 9 a.m. etching workshop for children; on Oct. 18, the University of Costa Rica’s Alberto Murillo will lead a 3 p.m.“Etching in Rembrandt’s Era” workshop.

Other conferences are set for Oct. 18 (“The Century of Rembrandt”), Oct. 19 (“The Music of Jacob van Eyck”) and Oct. 25 and 26 (“Material of the Spirit”), all at 7 p.m.

All events are free; entrance to the exhibition is ¢500 (about $1) for residents (free for students), or $5 for foreigners ($3 for students). The Costa Rican Art Museum is on the east side of La Sabana Park in western San José. For more information, call 222-7155.

 

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