[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★★]
FRANCE AND THE NETHERLANDS TEAM UP TO BUY REMBRANDT PAINTINGS
(P1) The Netherlands and France will together buy two rare Rembrandts for a total of €160m (£118m), the Dutch culture minister has announced, after the two countries DEFUSED a potential BIDDING WAR.
(P2) The 17th-century paintings, which belong to the Rothschild banking family and have rarely been seen in public, will ALTERNATE between the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Louvre in Paris, Jet Bussemaker said in a letter to the Dutch PARLIAMENT.
(P3) “We believe these two rare portraits should always be allowed to be admired together, alternately between the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre, so they are accessible to the broader public, both young and old,” she said, adding that the deal was CEMENTED by Dutch PRIME MINISTER, Mark Rutte, and the French president, François Hollande, at the United Nations this week.
(P4) The two full-length portraits of a young couple – Portrait of Marten Soolmans and Portrait of Oopjen Coppit – were painted by the Dutch master to mark their wedding in 1634. WRANGLING over the future of the paintings had threatened to SOUR relations between the two European allies.
(P5) Bussemaker on Friday said the Dutch government was willing to PUT UP half the €160m PRICE TAG, with the remaining €80m to be found by the Rijksmuseum.
(P6) After “INTENSIVE” discussions with Paris over the last few days, the Dutch cabinet decided to agree with France to share the costs “given our combined interests”, Bussemaker said.
(P7) The sale’s finer details – including insurance, responsibility for RESTORATION and how the portraits are to be exhibited – still need to be worked out, Bussemaker said.
(P8) The marital portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit are believed to be in the collection of French banker Eric de Rothschild.
(P9) The AFFLUENT Dutch couple had themselves individually painted in fine detail by Rembrandt in Amsterdam and through the years the two paintings have always been treated as a single unit, media reports said.
(P10) Dressed in black, which was highly fashionable at the time, Soolmans is DEPICTED holding a glove in his left hand, while Coppit holds an ostrich feather fan and wears a four-row pearl necklace among other expensive jewellery.
(P11) The Artnet website said the paintings have been viewed publicly only once in the past 150 years, and Bussemaker has already stressed the importance of finally putting them on public display.
(P12) The director of the Rijksmuseum, Wim Pijbes, told Dutch Radio 1 he was satisfied with the deal to share the portraits with the Louvre.
(P13) “A few months ago it still seemed UNTHINKABLE. But now two beautiful portraits will be together in public, in two museums of world fame,” Pijbes said.
(P14) He added it was a new concept in the museum world for two countries to work together to obtain works from a private collection.
(P15) Pijbes said each country would own half of each of the two paintings, which were “like a pair of shoes, never to be separated”.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- What is the most famous art museum in your country? Have you ever visited it?
- This COLLABORATION between two countries and two museums to purchase these paintings is a great example of THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX. What other examples do you know of thinking outside the box?
- Why are paintings by famous artists so VALUABLE?
- As a creative artist, Rembrandt is an ICON of The Netherlands. Which painters, writers, and musicians are icons in your country’s history?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Bidding war
- Prime minister
- Put up
- Price tag
- Thinking outside the box