Saturday, July 13, 2013

Princely Treasures

I visited this superb exhibition last Saturday but it's taken me a whole week to summon up the courage to write a post because of one word - Liechtenstein.  This principality in Europe sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland may be tiny in size but presents quite a mammoth challenge when it comes to spelling and pronunciation.  Nevertheless, it is to the Prince of Liechtenstein (yes, I did it again!) that we owe a debt of gratitude - for lending his priceless collection of Renaissance, Baroque and Flemish art to be enjoyed by the residents of Singapore.

The Princely Treasures exhibition is on display at the National Museum of Singapore from 27 June - 29 September 2013.  It really is a stunning collection of art, which I've seen often in the galleries of Europe, but is totally new and novel to Singapore.

The first two galleries hold collections from the summer palace.  There are some beautiful ornaments from the Baroque period, including this gorgeous clock which I would have love to own but  alas...perhaps one day my prince will come bearing a beautiful Baroque clock :)

Another unique piece from the artisans of Florence.  This ornate chest is decorated with pictures made by piecing together shards of cut coloured stone.  Obviously very meticulous and time-consuming work from the Renaissance period.

Then came the galleries containing the high art of Europe including this Raphael from the Renaissance period.  While the subject of the portrait may not be the best looking Renaissance man around,  it is clear that the master artist was able to command his brush and paint to bring to life the brilliance of his art, which has been admired for centuries.

This was my favourite painting in the entire collection.  It is a picture of little Clara Serena Rubens, painted by her adoring father, Peter Paul Rubens, just a few years before her death.  The innocent face of a little girl staring adoringly at her papa is so beautifully captured, I returned more than once to stare at this painting.

A roomful of Rubens - right here in Singapore!

The lovely galleries in jewelled tones 

Another treat was a gallery dedicated to the Brueghels, a talented family of 16th century Flemish artists from Belgium, famous for their landscapes and peasant scenes.  This lovely winter village scene by Pieter Brueghel the Younger is a fine example from the period.  There are so many details of life in the picture that it's more a study of anthropology than of art, if one were to really take time to enjoy all of it.

All in all, I would highly recommend a visit to the Princely Treasures from the House of Liechtenstein.

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