Four Centuries of Drawing and Painting

Dec. 7, 2019 – March 29, 2020 This exhibition has ended
‘Masterly!’ will be presenting a grand retrospective of four centuries of paintings and drawings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen collection. In over 150 works, the exhibition showcases the mastery of 27 artists who all excel in both art forms. It features work by famous masters such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Gogh, Delacroix, Pissarro, Saenredam, Goltzius and Basquiat, but also by lesser-known artists, including the Dutchmen Cornelis Saftleven and Josephus Augustus Knip. ‘Masterly!’ highlights the special relationship between drawing and painting and reveals the great masters’ love of drawing.

“The drawings give us an insight into the mind of the artist. They are often rapidly sketched and show everyday subjects – a landscape, a playing child. Drawings have a directness that transcends all times, much more so than well thought-out paintings. You will only get a really good impression of the artist when you combine their drawings and paintings.”
– Friso Lammertse, curator of old master paintings and sculptures at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Searching for the light

Guest curator Friso Lammertse has connected artists right throughout the centuries and arranged them into groups. Sometimes this connection originates from an arthistorical perspective, but more often the starting point is the artists’ approach to their work. This leads to some extraordinary combinations. Cuyp and Knip, for instance, who were both searching for the Italian light, or the unadorned portrayal of people by Rembrandt and Breitner. The eventful, short lives of Van Gogh and Basquiat, and their huge importance to art history. The ‘unbearable weight of being’ in the works of Westerik and Beckmann. And Claude Lorrain, Barend C. Koekkoek, Jacoba van Heemskerck, and Camille Pissarro, who are all connected by their landscapes.


The exhibition contains many highlights and is a paradise for lovers of drawing and painting. The drawings seems to bring you closer to the artist, and are often much freer and more intimate than the paintings we know of these masters. The exhibition takes you on a journey full of surprises, from Edgar Degas’ ballet dancer and Max Beckmann’s portrait of the Lütjens family, to a drawing of a young woman that Peter Paul Rubens made towards the end of his life.

Boijmans Next Door

‘Masterly!’ is part of Boijmans Next Door, a city-wide project to keep the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen visible during its renovation. Their collection of drawings is one of the most important in the world, and is rarely shown because of its sensitivity to light. For the exhibition ‘Masterly!’, a selection of the most beautiful works on paper is taken out of the depot for a short period of time, and will subsequently be hidden away again for years.

6 Jan Schoonhoven_Kwadratenreliëf 3de opvatting_LR.jpg
Jan Schoonhoven Kwadratenreliëf, 3de opvatting, 1967 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
Kunsthal & Cookies
During your online visit to Kunsthal Rotterdam we always use functional and analytical cookies. To show you content such as videos and advertisements based on your interests, we ask your permission to use marketing cookies. You can adjust your preferences at any time. Read our cookie statement and updated privacy statement.
These cookies enables the website to work like it should. These cookies are not optional.
These cookies are set by third parties, like YouTube or Vimeo.
These cookies allow us to measure the usage of the website and improve it accordingly.
These cookies allow our advertising partners to offer content tailormade for you.
When you disable categories, some functionality in the website might not work correctly. It's possible to change your preferences at any time. More information.