Siebrand Weitenberg: De Verwondering

This thursday me and some colleagues of mine went to Pulchri Studio, an art gallery in The Hague, where painter and teacher Siebrand Weitenberg is currently showing some of his works in an exposition called “De Verwondering” (The Wondering). The artist himself was present to tell us a little about his work. As it turned out, he did made us wonder.

He gave his talk in the exposition hall, amidst his work. While he was talking, I looked around for a bit and it occurred to me that the artist was wearing some kind of colourful jacket that really looked like one of the paintings I saw. My observation turned out be right. Later I overheard him tell two of my colleagues that this was in fact intentional. He continued to tell us that he paints in the romantic tradition. “To me, romanticism is about making things strange and simultaneously appealing”, he said. I have no idea what that means, or what that has to do with romanticism, but he got my attention right back when he told us that romanticism is also where  music really started. The man is apparently totally unaware of Bach, Mozart, Händel, Vivaldi, Monteverdi, Haydn, Scarlatti, etc, people who developed little things like the symphony, the opera, and the solo concerto.

Now when I think of romanticism, I think of pastoral scenes, dark forests, lone wanderers, ideas associated with words  like Sehensucht and Heimweh. Like this piece by Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), who had a lifelong obsession with death, God, and nature. Yes, now we’re talking.

The following, however, is an example of what Weitenberg showed us:

To me this looks like surrealism meets pop art meets new age (cliché Platonic elements are included, as he informed us). In any case it has nothing whatsoever to do with romantic tradition. At all.

Now, personnaly I think Weitenberg’s work is worthless pretentious crap, but that is not the point I wish to make here (though I wish it were). What I wonder is how Weitenberg, who calls himself an artist and a teacher, lacks the most basic knowlegde of art styles and history.

Categorised as: art

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