The Voyeur

Last week when I was in the Netherlands, I visited the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. They had a special exhibit called “High Society,” which featured enormous full-length portraits of people in the upper classes from a number of centuries and countries.

The exhibit was developed in part to welcome the pair of portraits by Rembrandt that had been purchased jointly by the Rijks and the Louvre, who will share custody of them. These depict husband and wife Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit, I believe the only full-length portraits that Rembrandt ever painted. The exhibit was fantastic.

Rembrandt

The wedding portraits of Maerten and Oopjen

But there were also a few side rooms that concern you, dear Casanova fans, more. “High Society Uncut” held a collection of drawings that showed people’s sometimes fascination with vice; pictures showed such things as the road to hell paved with drink, or a drunk woman passed out on some steps.

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“After the Party” by Jacobus van Looij

Another room bathed in pink light and carrying a warning to keep the children out contained pornographic drawings. Since I don’t want my blog censored, I won’t be posting any of those here!

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The warning on the wall of the explicit room.

The third room focused on voyeurism, with drawings of people looking at nude drawings and other similar topics. I was surprised to see Casanova included–though of course it makes sense that he would be.

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I sent this picture on to a few Casanovists I know. Adriano Contini replied by sharing two more drawings depicting scenes from C’s life, which he found on the website for the New York City Library Digital Collections. But it’s confusing because the drawings are listed twice, with two different names: Adolf Gnauth and Julius Nisle. The artist? The publisher? If anyone finds out, please let us know.

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We got to have our own portrait taken with Maerten and Oopjen.

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About seductivevenice

Teacher, writer, traveler, dancer, reader, photographer, gardener.
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