The Mental Museum

David Bailly

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A Dutch masterpiece completed during the 17th Century, Bailly’s self portrait seen above titled Still Life, 1651 is a well rounded example of artwork emanating from the Netherlands during this time. Amsterdam especially was an economic gem during this period. As commerce was high, the finer side of life was being documented. It was also an era of science and discovery. The lens; telescopic, photographic and microscopic was a means in which to alter perception and further explore the world objectively. Notice in Bailly’s Still Life the various replications. Bailly himself was well into his 60s when he painted this masterpiece, however he depicts himself as a young artist offering us a glimspe into his past, and also alternatively into the furture, by means of yet another portrait he holds. Notice the oval shape replicated throughout his surroundings. Notice the fabric scultped to the bust and its replication in the portrait of the woman beside it. Notice her pearls in the painting and the pearls on Bailly’s desk.  It was not only a period of discovery and documentation, but yet documentation within documentation. Artists picturing art within art within art. An onion effect; one within another within another. Can we claim irony in the fact that Amsterdam itself, the Dutch hub of this 17th century economic and simultaneous artistic boom was and still is in fact, in its urban plan, an onion city?


Written by thementalmuseum

January 5, 2009 at 1:33 pm

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