New ex­hi­bi­tions make Haar­lem ir­re­sistible

Two new ex­hi­bi­tions have just opened in Haar­lem: one on Leonardo's draw­ings and the other high­light­ing the in­flu­ence of Frans Hals on Im­pres­sion­ist painters. So if you are plan­ning a visit to this lovely city, now would be an es­pe­cially good time to go

Timeless Travels Magazine - - THE NETHERLANDS -

The­war­rior’s face lit­er­ally jumps out of the pa­per to­wards you – his mouth open, eye star­ing straight ahead. You can al­most hear his bat­tle-cry. He has no hair or body be­yond his neck and a slight shoul­der, but you are in no doubt that this man is alive and could turn to face you at any time. This is Leonardo da Vinci's Study of the Head of a Young War­rior in

Pro­file to the Left, drawn with red chalk. It is part of an ex­hi­bi­tion be­ing held at the fas­ci­nat­ing Teylers Mu­seum in Haar­lem, which con­cen­trates on Leonardo’s draw­ings, and in par­tic­u­lar his rep­re­sen­ta­tions of real peo­ple.

The first room con­cen­trates on dif­fer­ent types of sub­jects that he may have used in later paint­ings as his apos­tles, an­gels, war­riors or Madon­nas. Here there are stud­ies of women and chil­dren, old men, a young woman. All are beau­ti­fully ex­e­cuted, as we know he was keen to por­tray dif­fer­ent emo­tions suc­cess­fully. Many of the draw­ings are from his time in Florence as a young man, and we can see his in­ter­est in his fel­low hu­man be­ings right from an early age.

A se­cond room cen­tres on his por­tray­als of the more mis­shapen or ugly faces: char­ac­ters with large chins or noses – it would seem that he was fas­ci­nated with them. A third room is de­voted to his paint­ing of The Last Sup­per which is pro­jected as a life-sized replica (4.6 x 8.8 m), onto one wall. On the op­po­site wall is an early copy from the abbey in Tongerlo, which in­ter­est­ingly shows some of the de­tails that are now lost to us in the orig­i­nal paint­ing.

On the eve of the 500th an­niver­sary of his death, this ex­hi­bi­tion at the Teylers Mu­seum is the first ma­jor show of Leonardo’s work in the Nether­lands and shouldn't be missed.

It shows great plan­ning on be­half of the city of Haar­lem that an­other ma­jor ex­hi­bi­tion is also on nearby at the Frans Hal Mu­seum. Here, an­other ex­cel­lently cu­rated ex­hi­bi­tion looks at the in­flu­ence that Frans Hals had on later, im­pres­sion­ist artists such as Manet, Monet, Singer Sar­gent, Lieber­mann and van Gogh. Fre­quent vis­i­tors to Haar­lem them­selves, they were fas­ci­nated by his style – the loose, rough brush­stroke – and em­u­lated many dif­fer­ent as­pects of his work – from char­ac­ters (such as the laugh­ing child) to de­tails of cloth­ing (the ruff col­lar makes a come­back). Also in­cluded in the ex­hi­bi­tion are some of the copies the Im­pres­sion­ist painters made of his work – in­clud­ing some of his larger ones – which are as­ton­ish­ing to be­hold.

Com­mem­o­rat­ing the 150th an­niver­sary since Hals was ‘re­dis­cov­ered’, the show in­cludes many works that have never been seen be­fore in the Nether­lands and al­to­gether it makes a thought­ful and well­worth-see­ing ex­hi­bi­tion.

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