Dialogues in Focus: Isabelle van Zeijl
The exhibition ‘Young Masters Dialogues’ features a selection of contemporary works, made or placed in response to the Sphinx Fine Art Old Master Collection.
In the exhibition, Isabelle van Zeijl’s photographic work ‘Grand II’ is placed next to Frans Hals work ‘A Tronie of a Young Man in the Costume of an Actor’, both portraits of young male figures by Dutch artists, made centuries apart in different media, yet with a common subject and style.
Van Zeijl explains the making of her photographic series ‘Grand’ in relation to the great Dutch Golden Age and Renaissance masters:
The great proliferation of portraiture since ancient times bears witness to our desire to leave some trace of our existence and to vanquish the inexorable passing of time by creating a sort of immortal version of ourselves. This desire arose when I saw the face of my 7 years old son trough my lens. I saw a glimpse of a strong soul. In truth I think there is no beauty more authentic than the wisdom we find in love in some individual. As a photographer it is all about capturing the right moment, the right look. I am very grateful he gave me that right moment, the moment his soul was revealed to me. I could capture it with my camera. Here is a perceptive picture of the modesty and promise of a sensitive boy. This boy, grand in his appearance, grand in his courage to be portrayed with his delightful face, but with a very strong look of a young master. The series GRAND show a young boy in position of vulnerability and in the same time responsibility. The enormity of the delicate white collar emerging from the dark background as his only garments shows his new adult responsibility. The collar, still a bit too large for his age refers to the Renaissance portraiture; children had a new status as individuals. Parents dress their children in adult clothing. The boy appears intensely serious, more adult than childlike, only his young touching face shows us his age. The light plays beautifully on his big golden hair. These works are shining examples of an interesting mixture from techniques from the past to create a contemporary piece of art.
Van Zeijl’s work is exhibited side by side with the original Hals painting at Sphinx Fine Art in the exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ until 24 October 2015, curated by Daisy McMullan.