Sunday, 12 August 2012

Jozef Israëls and Meditation

'Meditation' (1850) by Jozef Israëls; Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht

Today I can do a post on a Dutch painter again. Jozef Israëls, born on 27 January 1824 and died on 12 August 1911, was one of the most important painters of the Hague School (Haagse School). The Hague School was heavily influenced by the French Barbizon School. If you see the images of Israëls' paintings together, you recognise the Realist style that both schools are known for. Israëls studied art in Groningen, Amsterdam and Paris. After an illness, he went to the fishing-town of Zandvoort to recover and started painting fishermen and beach scenes. Today's painting is called 'Mijmering' in Dutch. The English equivalent would be 'reverie' but I found one mention of an English translation of the title and they used 'Meditation' so I do as well. The painting is very different from his other work. It reminded me immediately of Ary Scheffer whose work is also to be seen in the Dordrechts Museum. In fact, the museum has the biggest collection of Scheffers' work in The Netherlands. I read somewhere that the painting 'Meditation' (that has undergone a major restoration) is the key piece of the museum's collection because it connects the French-Romantic style of Scheffers' paintings with Israëls' 19th century realistic work and that of his contemporaries. I find this painting beautiful! Great light! I have to go and see it and Scheffer's work as well. 

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