A painting entitled ‘Child with a soap bubble’ attributed to Rembrandt has been recovered in Nice, France 15 years after it had been stolen from the Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires of Draguignan, not far from Nice and the Côte d’Azur.
Sounding a bit like a ‘polar’, the French word for ‘crime fiction’, the painting was stolen from the museum in 1999 during a procession for the French national holiday (aka 14 juillet), on 14 July. The alarm went off, but the sound was muffled by the party taking place outside. The 60 cm by 50 cm painting worth about 4 million euro in 1999 has been attributed to Rembrandt, but that is doubtful says France’s Libération newspaper.
Last Tuesday, two middle-aged men tried to sell the painting, which rang some alarm bells figuratively, and they got caught.
Sadly, Rembrandt is one of the most loved artist of thieves, if not the most popular, whether really a Rembrandt or not.
(Link: next.liberation.fr, Photo www.artmarketmonitor.com)
Tags: France, Nice, Rembrandt, theft
Today, 20 March at exactly 17:57, when spring will officially start here, the city of The Hague will open ‘Bitcoin boulevard’ along a canal, framed by the Dunne Bierkade / Groenewegje / Wagenstraat / Uilebomen streets, also known to locals as Avenue Culinaire for its selection of international cuisine. An art gallery is also said to be joining in.
Software entrepreneurs Hendrik Jan Hilbolling and two bitcoin fans were able to convince restaurant owners, including a one Michelin star joint, of their project, which probably wasn’t easy considering some of them had no idea what a Bitcoin was. The boulevard project will run for two months with a possible extension. The initiators themselves won’t profit from it financially, Bitcoin or otherwise.
On a smaller scale, shops in other Dutch cities accept Bitcoins.
(Links: www.coindesk.com, www.denhaag.nl, www.emerce.nl)
Tags: Bitcoin, paying, The Hague
Yesterday artists Robbert Kamphuis and Laurens van der Zee unveiled their ‘compliment machine’, placed on the side of a downtown building in Wageningen, Gelderland.
Unsuspecting passers-by are given a compliment, randomly selected from a collection of 751 compliments. While some 600 of them are in Dutch, some 50 are in English and about 10 others in eleven other languages a piece to emphasise the international vibe of the city and its body of foreign students.
This art project celebrates 750 years of city rights for Wageningen. If you click on the above-mentioned link to see the machine, it looks like a wooden icon version of Facebook’s thumb’s up.
(Link: proefwageningen.nl, Photo Photo of thumb’s up by cait loper’s photography, some rights reserved)
Tags: compliments, thumb's up, Wageningen
The work of Dutch artist Diddo, Ecce Animal, is purported to be made from “street sourced” cocaine and gelatin. The artist also describes the laboratory process used to determine the purity of the product and create the work.
Apparently the cocaine was somewhere between 15% and 20% pure, the rest of the white powder consisting of “Phenacetin, Caffeine, Paracetamol and
a relative large percentage of sugars”. We’ll never know for sure, as the work was commissioned and the artist claims to have signed an NDA, but that hasn’t stopped publications like The Independent, Huffington Post and Vice writing about the sculpture.
Check Diddo’s other works which also occupy the space between concept and easy shock value.
See also: Skull-shaped bird house
Tags: cocaine, drugs, sculptures, skulls
Two weeks ago Dutch-American poet, artist and scientist Leo Vroman died at his home in Fort Worth, Texas, nu.nl reports.
Although Vroman emigrated to the US after WWII, he wrote poetry in Dutch until the very end. Somebody posted the following poem called Einde (‘The End’) to his blog after his death, a poem he wrote on 10 February (translation by me):
It probably looks less,
this lovingly gathered
pile of chips from my thoughts,
like me than like a mountain.
What then will this raging* figure
of me consist of
and where did this already late
first spark come from?
Holly Moors reviews Vroman’s book Leo Vroman Tekenaar which explores the many forms his art took. As a biologist Vroman studied the way blood works (the Vroman Effect was named after him, as Elsevier points out in its eulogy).
Nu.nl writes that in 2010 Vroman wrote his own ‘in memoriam’ for the magazine Tirade: “Will we miss him? Not easily. His books will still be lurking everywhere and his Effect is lasting.” The news site points out that in the Netherlands Vroman was best known for his poem ‘Vrede’ (‘Peace’). He won numerous literary awards (and one science award), and was named honorary citizen of Gouda in 1990.
*) Or furious, burning, blazing: the Dutch word ‘laaiende’ is often used to denote anger, but when talking about a fire it means ‘blazing’.
(Illustration: Leo Vroman, self-portrait)
Tags: biologists, biology, blood, Leo Vroman, poems, poetry
Tumblrer Chaoscontrolled123 decided to transcribe the music written across the buttocks of one of the characters in Hieronymus Bosch’ famous painting The Garden of Earthly Delights. You can hear the results here.
Chaoscontrolled123 appears to be unimpressed by the tune but I see promise in it. Surely techno DJs or metal band Within Temptation should be able to do something with the melody?
Hieronymus Bosch was a mediaeval painter who was born and lived his entire life in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (hence the last name Bosch). The Garden of Earthly Delights is perhaps his most famous painting consisting of three panels, the right-most of which depicts hell. Our trouserless friend is part of a scene in which the sin of lust is depicted as music—Wikipedia says lust was considered the ‘music of the flesh’ in those days.
By the way, I don’t know if any art historian ever noticed this, but there is a diptych in the right panel of the triptych. Huh-huh.
(Link: Trendbeheer; illustration Hieronymus Bosch)
Tags: buttocks, Den Bosch, diptychs, Hieronymus Bosch, paintings, triptychs, Within Temptation
Since the opening of this artwork by John Kormeling back in 2008 there have been homeless people living in it, even though it’s not a proper house.
In 2009 some angry welfare recipient had to be removed by the fire brigade from the roof, and last December someone wrote ‘waste of money’ on the roof, while in 2008 someone has written ‘a food bank would be better’.
The rotating house cost 348,000 euro, which apparently many people thought was an expensive use of tax payers’ money. It seems to me that since the artwork looks like an overpriced house (as in for 348,000 clams in Tilburg you’d get something bigger) has made it an easy target.
(Link: www.nieuws.nl, Photo: Stinkfinger Producties)
Tags: homeless, roundabouts, Tilburg
The tourist video ‘Going Dutch’ premiered in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam last November and yes, it is well shot. I very much like the voiceover with its impeccable pronunciation, as it has the right tone for that in-flight video feel. In fact, if you wanted to convince some friends and family abroad to visit the country this video wouldn’t be a bad place to start. The film does focus heavily on Amsterdam, which is often the first place people visit and then unfortunately associate with the entire country. Although you may learn something, I mostly saw stereotypes being reinforced like a dam with a leak in it.
Some 5 minutes into the film when basking in the past glory of Dutch football accomplishments, they actually mention that ‘women’s football has been given a boost in recent years’ although let’s face it, nobody here gives a rat’s ass about it. At about 7 minutes in we get into Dutch art, which again relies on the classics, but that is to be expected.
We continue on to 10 minutes in and ‘Dutch craftsmanship’ pushes top Dutch brands Philips and Bols — music and booze if you will. About two minutes later at 12 odd minutes, the ‘Dutch water’ bit focuses on in and around Rotterdam, with dams and shipping containers. At around 15 minutes, it’s about Dutch food and it shows herring and haute cuisine side by side, which doesn’t reflect reality at all. However, the cheese tour makes up for it and the white blonde Dutch narrator dares call himself a ‘cheese head’.
The testosterone-induced business atmosphere of the Zuidas, where a few wannabee skyscrapers are clustered, doesn’t work for me at all, but then it is often forced into every business film to make it look like we have a proper financial district. Speaking of getting down to business, Dutch music gets its bit at 20 odd minutes in after having used a picture of internationally famous singer Caro Emerald but completely ignoring her and skipping to classical music on the one hand and Dutch dance DJs (all men) on the other. By then I’ve seen three visual references to Tiësto, then finally a female DJ is on screen, but oh no, she starts praising the success of her male colleagues abroad.
In the end, the narrator is in what I think – and I am guessing here — Monnickendam, giving two blonde women passing by a badly acted once-over, as he says “come see for yourself what the Netherlands has to offer.” [Insert facepalm here].
Don’t get me wrong, we wouldn’t be writing this blog if we didn’t think the Netherlands (the entire country, not just Amsterdam) had tons to offer, but giving the impression to foreigners that everything is mostly done by white men in 2013 is scary and unrealistic. The only time ethnic minorities are shown on screen is when they plug the tolerance cliché and the muliticulti one (filmed in Amsterdam) because ethnic minorities don’t seem to be of any use otherwise, not even in the food part.
It’s safe to say that history is basically repeating itself.
Tags: Amsterdam, Bols, cheese, Philips, Tiësto, tourism, Zuidas
City council members of Zwijndrecht near Rotterdam have taken to mocking the amateurs who entered a municipal contest for painting a state portrait of the new king, Willem-Alexander.
According to AD (which has photos of the actual paintings), SGP’s René van den Berg said: “We are going to discuss whether we should even pick one of these paintings as a winner. [...] The quality of some of them is atrocious.”
The winning portrait will be hung in the council chamber. The winner will receive a prize of 750 euro.
Wim van der Does (D’66): “This is kindergarten level painting. Some of these don’t even look like the king.” A third, unnamed council member added: “I hope we’re not going to hang one of these behind me.”
At least some politicians refrained from belittling the voters. Chris Moorman (ABZ) had been against an amateur contest from the start, but took his loss graciously: “Let’s be fair and pick a winner with humour.” Mayor Dominic Schrijer thought it was great that so many people spent so much of their time and energy in creating portraits and added “the entries vary a lot, from colourful to black and white, and from realistic to naïve. We deliberately chose paintings by real Zwijndrechters.”
Other cities such as nearby Sliedrecht have managed to organize paint-the-king competitions without insulting their constituents.
Zwijndrecht doesn’t seem to have learned from this episode. On 19 March it will organize another competition in which, if past experiences are anything to go by, mostly amateurs will compete. That’s the date the elections for city council will be held.
(Photo by Kara Harms, some rights reserved)
Tags: politicians, Zwijndrecht
Arie van ‘t Riet is a medical physicist who became an artist by accident.
My Modern Met writes:
One day, his colleague asked him to take an X-ray of one of his art paintings. It was a thin object and van’t Riet had never done something like this before, but as he said, “it worked.” This got him thinking about what other kinds of thin objects he could X-ray and flowers came to mind. He started with a bouquet of tulips. The analog image, or the silver bromide X-ray film, resembled a black and white negative. It was digitized, inverted, and then selectively colorized in Photoshop. “And then some people told me that’s art,” he humorously states, “and I became an artist.”
Many more amazing colourized X-rays can be found at the My Modern Met article linked above and at Van ‘t Riet’s own website.
(Link: Boing Boing)
Tags: Arie van 't Riet, medical physics, radiology, still lifes, tulips, x-rays