Flatness and full circle

The image of the Netherlands – a very very flat country populated with the ubiquitous windmills, tulips and cows  – that is disseminated through the world has its origins in paintings of the ‘The Hague School”. Israëls, the Maris’ses, Mesdag, Mauve, Weissenbruch and others took the newly invented paint tubes outside and painted the Dutch landscape as-was, that is: without a lot of romantic embellishments like mountains and golden rays of sun and bloodcurdling dawns. At the time, this was a new and revolutionary idea, powerful enough to have one’s paintings banned from polite society. Then they were discovered, canonised, then they fell from grace, and nowadays we’re re-discovering them: full circle. Witness the exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

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