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Museum right to display Damien Hirst

31 August 2008 - The Rijksmuseum will be the first museum to display the controversial diamond-encrusted skull created by artist Damien Hirst. In so doing, the museum makes a connection between today's consumerism and the hypocritical greed of the Golden Age, writes NRC Handelsblad.

The provocative work might seem out of place in a museum with a respected collection of works by artists including Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer and Frans Hals. However, one must not forget that Rembrandt shocked people with his exuberant paintings as much as Hirst does today, NRC Handelsblad points out in a commentary.

By showing Hirst's skull among the morbid Vanitas paintings of the Golden Age, "the Rijksmuseum makes a connection beteween the hypocrisy of the greedy mentality of the Dutch East India Company and the unthinking consumerism of the 21st Century".

The newspaper further says that the skull is both a masterpiece and an 'ultra-flashy thing'. The museum would be fulfilling one of its basic tasks by facilitating debate on this. The skull will be on display from 1 November untill 15 December.

NRC Handelsblad (in Dutch). Image: Adriaen van Utrecht: Vanitas - Still Life with Bouquet and Skull (c.1642). Rijksmuseum / Wikipedia


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