A Sense of Rembrandt

Leiden, 1624. After a six-month apprenticeship with the painter Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, a young, 18-year-old Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn moved back to his native city of Leiden and opened his own studio in 1624 or 1625. Sometime within this period of artistic development, Rembrandt painted an elusive set of five paintings, The Five Senses…

Vermeer and the role of music

I assume many of us are familiar with Johannes Vermeer’s painterly masterpiece entitled Girl with a Pearl Earring (c. 1665), on display at the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshius in The Hague, the Netherlands. Well, unfortunately, the National Gallery’s latest exhibition doesn’t have anything to do with this painting, but it draws on a theme that…

Federico Barocci – where Renaissance meets Baroque

This Wednesday just happened to be the day of Baroness Margaret Thatcher’s funeral service, of which I took the opportunity to witness first-hand. I arrived at St Paul’s Cathedral shortly after 10am and struggled to find a nice spot that didn’t have at least 10-12 people in front of it already. Also I was rather…