From 11 October to 16 February 2020, Museum Prinsenhof Delft is home to the first exhibition dedicated solely to the famous 17th-century painter Pieter de Hooch. And this museum is not just chosen randomly: De Hooch himself enjoyed his glory days in Delft.
Text: Debby Grooteman | Main image: The Courtyard of a House in Delft, 1658. Photo: The National Gallery, London
Senior curator Anita Jansen explains the unique character of the exhibition: “The paintings come from all over the world – from museums including the National Gallery in London, to private collections. Together with Vermeer, De Hooch is considered Delft’s most famous painter from the Dutch Golden Age. But in the Netherlands, he actually never got credit for this work. So, we want to give his paintings a podium in our museum.”
De Hooch is celebrated for his works of everyday domestic scenes with an open doorway. The genre of courtyard scenes was completely new when De Hooch began painting them in the 17th century. “He gives a peek through what goes on behind closed doors – a fence with an open door that shows the garden, a room where you can see a mother with a child. Also, the compositions experiment a lot with light and perspective.”
Jansen concludes that real architectural elements from Delft are recognisable in the paintings. ”For example, a new house is identified that really did exist in Delft. This makes a full story for the exhibition – to show it in our museum in Delft, with work from a renowned painter during his stay here in our city.”