Music Room, Private Residence Cologne / Germany 2000 Hand-painted mural, gesso and egg tempera on paper
“Rembrandt tulips”, those richly striated, flamed varieties so highly prized by the Dutch in the 17th-century, are scattered across the walls of a music room. These same flowers spill from the vases and cornucopias in the still-life paintings popular in the Netherlands in the 1700s. Like those paintings, the carefully wrought detail of these grandly-scaled tulips hint at the transitory nature of this beauty. The nibbled leaves, the raggedly cut stalks remind that the bloom doesn’t last forever in nature, only in art. The randomness suggests the cut blossoms are propelled by an invisible gust, prompting the memory that the speculative buying and selling of these flowers was called the “wind trade” during the heady days of Tulipmania in the 1700s. This informality of composition is only achieved through careful design. The placement of the elements is worked out first in miniature, the design resolved in the small scale, before executing the tulips in their monumental dimensions.
Photos by Martin Classen