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Home, Land and Sea - Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester

24 May - 23 May 2014
Gallery: Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester

Home, Land and Sea brings together over 50 paintings from Manchester City Galleries’ exceptional 17th and 18th century Dutch and Flemish collection, one of the most important in the country. This major exhibition showcases the Galleries’ broad collection, which includes exquisite paintings of everyday life, portraiture, landscapes, seascapes, and still life. For the first time these Dutch and Flemish paintings are juxtaposed with works by major contemporary artists such as Mat Collishaw, Gavin Turk and 2013 Northern Art Prize nominee Rosalind Nashashibi.

The new display places these historic paintings within the context of the Netherlands’ dramatic and prosperous history. With the Dutch Republic’s independence came a newfound sense of identity and national pride which found expression through the arts. This exhibition, arranged thematically, demonstrates how Dutch and Flemish artists famously found new subjects in the life around them.

Many of the paintings have not been on display for decades, while others have benefited from recent conservation treatment. Works include impressive domestic interiors by Pieter de Hooch, finely painted works by Gerrit Dou and Willem van Mieris, as well as charismatic portraits by Gerard ter Borch. There are views of the simple Dutch countryside in landscapes by Jan van Goyen, Aelbert Cuyp and Philips Koninck, while paintings by Jacob van Ruisdael and Jan van de Cappelle depict stormy seas and calm inland waters. Evoking the Republic’s powerful trading empire, are still lifes of imported luxury goods by Willem Kalf, as well as meticulously painted exotic flowers by Jan van Huysum and Jan van Os.

Contemporary works on display include five still lifes from Mat Collishaw’s series of photographs, Last Meal on Death Row, Texas. Other contemporary works range from bronze painted sculptures of gnawed apples by Gavin Turk to a digitally engineered film created in homage to Ambrosius Bosschaert: Transforming Still Life Painting by Rob and Nick Carter. Rosalind Nashashibi’s film Bachelor Machines Part I accompanies the seascapes and focuses on the lives of an all-male crew on board the Gran Bretagna, a modern-day cargo vessel.

This exhibition has been curated by Henrietta Ward, The National Gallery Curatorial Trainee supported by the Art Fund. It is supported by the Aurelius Trust and Patrons of Manchester Art Gallery.