[Photo credit: www.museot.fi. ]
This Sunday, I stumbled upon the Sinebrychoff Art Museum, the only museum in Finland concentrating exclusively on European masters. The building was formerly the home of the Sinebrychoffs, a wealthy family from Russia with a profitable brewery business. The collection began when Paul Sinebrychoff the Younger married Fanny Grahn, an actress who shared a passion for the arts. Together, they amassed work under the aegis of the prominent Swedish art dealer, Henryk Bukowski and the historian Osvald Siren. The state inherited this couple’s impressive collection of work in 1921. Today, the Sinebrychoff Museum houses their collection in addition to donations from numerous private collections, dating from 1851.
Personal highlights from the collection include two paintings by the father and son phenomenon, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770) and Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (1724-1804). The Tiepolos hail from Venice, a city almost as famous for its art as it is for its canals and festivals. The story of my appreciation for Venetian painting worked chronologically. It started with Paolo Veneziano, was followed by Titian and Tintoretto, and finally ended with the Tiepolo family. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo is still one of my favorite painters because his work embodies the best parts of many other Venetian painters: the opulence of Paolo Veneziano, the luminosity of Titian, and the pomp of Tintoretto. In the Sinebrychoff, The Rape of the Sabine Women, 1718-1719, offers evidence of Tiepolo’s unrivaled flair and distinctively lush surface treatment.
While I was unfortunately unable to obtain an image of said painting, feel free to take a virtual tour of the museum and preview the collection here. The following image is the same artist, title and date, but is found at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.
[Photo credit: The State Hermitage Museum. ]
The Museum also has several works by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) and Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553). I learned that both of these Northern Renaissance artists broke from the norm by signing their names to their works. Dürer’s monogram AD appears in a print of The Martyrdom of Saint Catherine, (1497), seen below. (The monogram is below her dress on the bottom of the print.) Lucas Cranach the Elder signed his works in a more elaborate way, often painting a dragon with a ring in its mouth.
[Photo credit: Art-Wallpapers.]
On this particular Sunday afternoon, there happened to be a vocal performance in the restored Empire Room of the house. On the first floor, I saw works by Rembrandt, Piranesi, Tiepolo, and Dürer and upstairs, I heard Schumann, Brahms, and Rossini performed by soprano Minna Hilke, mezzosoprano Anna-Clara Groundstroem and pianist Ilkka Sivonen.