Monuments of Regents

Amsterdam Museum at the Hermitage Amsterdam
20 November 2020 – 2 January 2022


The exhibition with paintings by visual artist Natasja Kensmil will be shown in the middle of the permanent presentation ‘Group Portraits of the 17th century’. Inspired by the collection of group portraits Kensmil immersed herself in the urban society of seventeenth-century Holland. Five of her works can be seen here amidst the historical portraits, with the nine-part ‘Monument of Regents’ as the centrepiece. The exhibition is on show until 2 January 2022.

Impressive paintings

Kensmil’s paintings appeal to the imagination. On canvases of impressive size she portrays prominent figures, with thick layers of paint robustly painted, and yet full of details. On canvases of impressive size Kensmil paints prominent figures, with thick layers of paint robustly painted, and yet full of details. Who are these archetypes of persons portrayed on the famous seventeenth-century works, and what is going on in them? With its attention to this period, and the lives of people who are portrayed in groups: shooters, regentesses and regents, Kensmil breaks through the often still one-sided view of this heritage in museum collections.

Her paintings of a ship at sea and a tropical rainforest broaden the view to the origins of prosperity, often originating from trade and connected with a colonial system full of violence and oppression. Curator Imara Limon (Amsterdam Museum): ”Kensmil’s works of art are a powerful addition to the collection of portraits of Amsterdam administrators in the permanent exhibition ‘Group Portraits of the 17th Century. In her paintings the boundaries between good and evil are blurred and she shows that the past is still haunted by the present’.