Dutch masterpiece is back at castle
LORNA MARSH Norwich Castle's latest addition to its fine art collection is a 17th-century Dutch masterpiece that has only been on public display twice before.
Norwich Castle's latest addition to its fine art collection is a 17th-century Dutch masterpiece that has only been on public display twice before.
The Supper at Emmaus by Cornelis Engelsz was purchased through donations by local and national funding bodies.
Still in its original frame, the work will hang in the newly redisplayed Dutch Paintings Gallery at the castle.
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It has only been seen before by the public in 1957 and 1988 – again at Norwich Castle.
The painting is widely regarded as being Cornelis Engelsz's masterpiece. The artist studied in Haarlem, Holland, in the studios of Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem and Karel van Mander.
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Andrew Moore, keeper of art at the castle, said: “At first glance it is easy to miss the figure of Christ breaking bread with the two disciples in the adjacent room in the background.
“The bread on the table and the fish on the plate symbolise Christ and the Resurrection and the spreading of the word.
“The scene reminds those of us who are visiting that it was at that moment of taking pleasure in the food that the two disciples recognised Christ. They, and we, are reminded of The Last Supper on the night of Christ's betrayal as well as the transience of earthly pleasures.”
The Supper at Emmaus has been in East Anglia since the early 17th century. It was probably originally acquired by Sir Nathaniel Bacon during his European tour in 1613.
Locally, contributors include the East Anglia Art Foundation, the Friends of Norwich Museums, the Paul Bassham Trust and the Town Close Estate Charity.
In addition, dozens of members of the East Anglia Art Foundation and the Friends of Norwich Museums made their own personal contributions towards the purchase.
Nationally, the National Art Collections Fund, The Headley Trust, the Purchase Fund of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Mercer's Company all made donations.
Norwich Castle will be closed from Christmas Eve to December December 27 and on January 1. From December 28 to 31, it will be open from 10am to 4.30pm.