Great Dutch Master Paintings Revisited

Photographs by Hendrik Kerstens

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Hendrik Kerstens (born 1956) is a Dutch photographer best known for his fascinating historical portrait series. Now the photographs are displayed for the first time in Sweden at Skokloster Castle.

His daughter Paula is his recurring model and co-creator in the artistic process. When he was a new parent and a stay-at-home dad, his early photographs of Paula were of a documentary nature. Snapshots of all the everyday events of childhood.

When his daughter grew older, Kerstens specialized in staged portraits inspired by 17th-century Dutch paintings. Kerstens highlights the most important expressions in the painting of that time: the everyday objects, the peaceful expression, the characteristic light and the exquisite craftsmanship. Kerstens makes references to well-known Dutch and Flemish artists such as Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan van Eyck.

A portrait of a person wearing a white collar and black sweater.
Photo: Hendrik Kerstens, Doily, 2011.

Historical painting and contemporary art

But Kerstens does not imitate painting. He creates his own dialogue between historical painting and contemporary photography. He uses modern, everyday props in the traditional motifs. A plastic bag becomes a headdress, layers of cake paper become a collar.

In this way, Kerstens brings together different time periods. He shows how daily life has always been an integral part of art, both in the 17th century and in the 21st century.

Hendrik Kerstens has won several prestigious awards and is represented in several art collections worldwide. This is the first time his work is shown in Sweden.

Visit the exhibition

The temporary exhibition is included in the entrance fee, SEK 120.

You will find the temporary exhibition in the concourse on the first floor, the parade floor.

Header photo: Hendrik Kerstens, Bag, 2007.