In the past I found myself preferring art from the 20th century and contemporaries, as opposed to works from previous centuries. Lately though, I find myself rediscovering the parts of the museum with the Old Masters collections. These areas are usually more quiet than the rest of the museum and it’s a priviledge to be able to spend the afternoon sitting in the room full of the great historic paintings. Some of them you feel like you’ve known your whole life from pictures and stories. What really appeals to me is that I don’t feel like the consumer, always in search of novelty in a way that I sometimes feel when going through contemporary exhibitions and art fairs.
Instead, there is a quiet grace in these classic works, that also happen to be great companions for those solitary afternoons.
Afterwards, I usually find I’m more focused on tasks which require patience and attention to detail, because the rush of every day life is somehow neutralized by these surroundings, even if it’s only for a limited amount of time. It’s worth it.
(All images taken by me; image above left featuring portrait of Maria Josepha of Saxony, Marie-Antoinette’s late mother-in-law, by Frédou and on the right a painting by Breitner; bottom image featuring works by Fantin-Latour and Rousseau; all paintings from Museum Boijmans van Beuningen.)