June 1, 2019 – August 14, 2019 all-day
Paul Tetar van Elven Museum
Koornmarkt 67 2611 EC Delft
'The Past Glorified' - Delft Exhibition @ Paul Tetar van Elven Museum

The Golden Age by 19th century artists

In this museum year that is all about Rembrandt and the Golden Age, all eyes are on our glorious and less glorious past. Museum Paul Tetar Elven, former house of the 19th century painter, concurs, albeit in a particular way: here we are not looking back from the present, but from the 19th century through the eyes of Tetar of Elven (1823-1896) and his colleagues.

The Fox Gallery

Thanks to a loan from the Amsterdam Museum this summer to see forty paintings from the ‘History Gallery Fox, “a project of the 19th century Amsterdam art collector and -beschermer Jacob Fox Jacobszoon.

Between 1850 and 1863, he had thirty young artists, including Paul Tetar van Elven, make oil sketches as a continuous cartoon of national history from the year 40 onwards, in order to keep the interest alive for the “glorious, as well as educational, development of the Dutch people. “ and to support young practitioners of the art history.

This cartoon took shape in no fewer than 253 paintings of approximately 40 × 50 cm. of which 11 by Tetar, and 10 small statues. De Vos presented them with a descriptive catalog of his own hand in the garden pavilion behind his house on the Herengracht. They remained there until 1884, after which, with the obsolescence of historical painting as dated and artistically uninteresting, they gradually disappeared into museum depots. Their educational value was not yet over, witness a three-part history publication from 1906 in which the performances served as illustrations.

The Galerie de Vos program: a “Pantheon of Dutch fame”

Full compliance with the rules of the 19th century art history was also here the revival of patriotism and -trots by the depiction of exemplary periods and praiseworthy deeds of their ancestors. De Vos wanted to show specifically how cooperation between different, once hostile, parties could create a powerful national unity. Conspiracies, popular riots, sieges, naval battles and triumphant or heroically dying heroes: they have been portrayed as dramatically and dramatically as possible.

The main emphasis is of course on the Eighty Years’ War and our Golden Age, with Tromp and De Ruyter and our other sea heroes as the defenders of our freedom.

Gallery Fox thus illustrates par excellence the 19th century vision of their own history. In that period, the national heroes and myths about the Dutch ‘identity’ were created, which are now in full discussion, stronger: leading to irreconcilable differences of opinion. For Museum Tetar van Elven, it is precisely in this commemorative year to illustrate that each time produces its own picture of history.

In the spotlight: Rembrandt

Our great master is also represented in the museum – in the form of copies in oil, painted by Paul Tetar van Elven. Painting copies of the famous predecessors in the great museums heard in the 19th century in academic art practice as a prerequisite for good artistry. Tetar copied a few portets from Rembrandt, the Anatomy Lesson, the Steel Masters and of course: the Night Watch. The copies can be seen permanently, but this season get an extra ‘exposure’ for both the general visitor and for education.