A Rembrandt masterpiece is the glittering star of A Dutch Golden Age exhibition at Cannon Hall Museum in Barnsley.
The Dutch master, who helped to define the 17th century period of outstanding art, is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest artists of all time.
And today Barnsley Museums bosses are celebrating a coup for the region after securing one of his famed works for their latest free exhibition. Full details and opening times at www.cannon-hall.com.
A Dutch Golden Age, opening this Saturday until September 16, follows the success of a Picasso showcase which attracted thousands of art lovers to the town's Cooper Gallery last year.
The latest display, at Cannon Hall Museum in Cawthorne, celebrates the venue's own Dutch Golden Age art collection, which is at the core of the exhibition, along with other important loans from York Art Gallery and Museums Sheffield.
Two most significant pieces - Rembrandt's 1659 oil on canvas An Elderly Man As Saint Paul and Jan Steen's Skittle Players Outside An Inn - are from the National Gallery, through the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund.
Natalie Murray, Collections and Exhibitions Manager for Barnsley Museums, is curating the exhibition. She said: "This was an amazing period in art history, with an unprecedented volume of paintings being produced in quite small country, with artists of an extremely high level - not least of all Rembrandt, the big name in our exhibition.
"He is our headliner. But we have other great and important works to see.
"We've brought together a wealth of Dutch paintings from the 17th century, featuring landscapes, seascapes, still-life, portraits and some amazing urban scenes, showing detailed Amsterdam architecture of the time.
"There's also a whole range of events and activities happening, for all ages, including fun and creative days, tours of the exhibition and even a study day, for people who want to go into depth and find out more."
Created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, the Weston Loan Programme is designed to fund and empower regional and smaller local authority museums to borrow major works or collections of art from the UK’s national museums and galleries.
Coun Roy Miller, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place said: “The exhibition is an excellent way for visitors to find out more about ‘Dutch Masters’, which is a really fascinating period in art history.
":We’re fortunate in Barnsley to have such a wonderful collection of work from the time, and it will be incredible to see the paintings showcased alongside work by artists such as Rembrandt.
“Barnsley Museums have a wonderful reputation for bringing exciting and high profile exhibitions to the area, and this one will be no different. We are certain people will travel from all across the county to see the paintings in the serene surroundings of Cannon Hall.”
Philippa Charles, Garfield Weston Foundation director, said, ‘‘We have been blown away by the ambition and creativity of museums and galleries across the UK and Barnsley’s idea really stood out.
"Some of the most talented curators in the UK have imagined the art, objects and exhibitions which promise to transform the experiences of their audiences. We are delighted that the local community in Barnsley will get to see these amazing paintings.”
Steven Deuchar, Art Fund director, added, ‘We knew the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund addressed a vital need: our national museums want to widen access to the collections they hold, and institutions around the UK want to share these works with their audiences. The response has been overwhelming. We’re pleased to provide the means to enable the greater sharing of art, but, just as importantly, to help empower museums to realise their ambitions.’
For more information visit www.cannon-hall.com.
* Cannon Hall Museum, Experience Barnsley, Elsecar Heritage Centre,The Cooper Gallery and Worsbrough Mill are free entry venues supported by fundraising charity Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust - set up in 2015 to help preserve, enhance and champion the borough’s heritage for the future. To find out more, get involved and make a donation visit www.bmht.org.