This continuing exhibition in the Johnson Museum of Art of twelve Dutch paintings—by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu, Jan Steen, and others—comes from the New York–based Leiden Collection curated by Dr. Dominique Nicole Surh, among the most important private collections of seventeenth-century Dutch art in the world. The selection focuses on works by the Leiden fijnschilders, or fine-manner painters. But while these paintings all share a refinement in the handling of paint and precise rendering of detail, their subject matter varies widely, including portraiture, landscape, peasant scenes, and history painting. Additionally, for the spring semester only, the Leiden Collection’s rare Rembrandt drawing of a lioness will grace the gallery.
An Eye for Detail is part of the Museum’s “Connecting Research with Practice” initiative, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The yearlong visit of these works will help make possible the development of new courses and facilitate interdisciplinary study through the intersection of art history and science. At Cornell, the paintings will be studied by Richard Johnson, Jr., the Geoffrey S. M. Hedrick Senior Professor of Engineering, whose work involves thread counting in historic canvases, and at Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), to search for buried pigments using X-ray fluorescence mapping.