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Finding Romance in the Cold

Posted on March 22 2018

Inspiration from the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands 

Horse and Cart

 Last weekend, whilst the UK was covered in snow, I escaped to my homeland of the Netherlands, where I spent a day sheltering from the icy cold wind in a fabulous art museum in the city of Groningen. The museum exhibits modern and contemporary art of local, national, and international artists.

The Museum is well known for its exceptional and colourful building, but also its fascinating exhibitions and intriguing collections. It is bursting with artistic energy, which is obvious as you pass by.

The original museum opened in 1874 but was rehoused and reopened in 1994. Right from the outset, it was certain that the new Groninger Museum would be a testament to conceptual art and design. Museum Director, Frans Haks, worked with postmodernist master, Alessandro Mendini, to chose the designers and architects to work alongside him for this purpose: Philipe Starck, Michele de Lucchi and Coop Himmelblau.

Groninger Museum

Groninger Museum

 Romanticism in the North, from Friedrich to Turner.

Friedrich Nerly (1807–1878) Venice, moonlight on the Piazza San Marco - Circa 1842 - Oil on Canvas.

Friedrich Nerly (1807–1878) Venice, moonlight on the Piazza San Marco - Circa 1842 - Oil on Canvas.

 The museum presents this first international survey exhibition of northern European Romantic landscape painting. Dramatic scenes of raging seas, imposing mountains and erupting volcanoes alternate with quiet moonlit nights and peaceful fields where lonely figures pause to rest. There are more than 95 magnificent works from the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia and Great Britain.

Landscape painting flowered in the Romantic era (ca. 1800–1850) thanks to artists like J.M.W. Turner in England, Caspar David Friedrich in Germany and Johan Christian Dahl in Norway. Not only does their work still speak to the imagination today, a new sensibility that developed during the period went on to shape Modern Art. Along with looking carefully at the world around them, painters began turning their gaze inward as well. The landscapes they painted are as varied and changeable as human emotion. Their depictions of nature provide a spiritual as well as a historical experience. 

Carl Blechen, Country road in winter at moonlight, ca. 1836, Die Lübecker Museen, Museum Behnhaus Drägerhaus, Lübeck, Germany

Carl Blechen, Country road in winter at moonlight, ca. 1836, Die Lübecker Museen, Museum Behnhaus Drägerhaus, Lübeck, Germany.

 Romanticism Today! 

New Romantics

Fans of contemporary romanticism, fantasy and illusion won’t want to miss the accompanying exhibition, Romanticism Today. A surprising selection from the Museum’s collections of Modern Art, Fashion and Design takes you on a thrilling journey from Studio Job’s “Black Romanticism” to the pure white confections of fashion designers Viktor & Rolf. An artificial-reality landscape puts you in the middle of nature, surrounded by landscapes that range from charming to menacing and mysterious.


Viktor & Rolf, 2001-2002.

Viktor & Rolf, 2001-2002.

I cannot recommend it highly enough and, like with my trip to Tangiers earlier this year, was delighted to find inspiration simply through the act of seeing through other’s eyes.  No matter what the ‘day job’ is, it is so important to take time to feed our souls!  (And the delicious food and beverages in the stylish Mendini Restaurant  will keep you nourished in other ways.)

The exhibition is on until the 6th May 2018

For more information about the museum;