The general consensus is that Romanticism never existed in the Netherlands, but the Kunsthal proves otherwise. The exhibition comprises some 150 paintings, over 100 works on paper and dozens of oil sketches from private collections, the Rijksmuseum (some 35 items) and international museums. Works by Wouter van Troostwijk, Wijnand Nuyen, Andreas Schelfhout, Johannes Bosboom, Johannes Tavenraat, Barend Cornelis Koekkoek and Jan Weissenbruch, but also by the later pioneers of The Hague School, Jozef Israëls and Willem Roelofs, are to be displayed in the two galleries of the Kunsthal and form one of the largest exhibitions in its existence.
Full of emotion
The high quality of the works selected for this exhibition contributes to this first serious attempt at defining Dutch Romanticism. For some time Dutch painting of the first half of the nineteenth century was seen principally in the light of the Golden Age, creating a cramped view of Romanticism. Based on several dichotomies - the strange vs. the familiar, the eternal vs. the transitory, the modern vs. the past, etc. - the Kunsthal paints a picture of what it was that moved the artists of the Romantic Period. The Romanticist used the clash of opposites to create friction: what used to be commonplace became unusual. By highlighting its similarity with Romanticism in England, France and Germany, Dutch painting proves to be full of drama and innuendo.