The social and moral implications of retreating oneself in solitude were vigorously debated in early modern Europe. While the benefits of a solitary state were exalted
The social and moral implications of retreating oneself in solitude were vigorously debated in early modern Europe. While the benefits of a solitary state were exalted in the context of study and devotional practice, they were also understood to carry a moral obligation of mental fortitude. Theologians warned that time away from family and community could lead to depressive episodes or leave one vulnerable to temptation. Who was advised—or perhaps permitted—solitude, then, was carefully negotiated by cultural and societal norms.
The artworks brought together in this exhibition illustrate how artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Jacob van Campen, Heyman Dullaert and Cornelis Bisschop confronted the accepted limits of seclusion in their work. Representations of figures solitarily engaged in studies, prayer, or song provided opportunities for an artistic exploration of human interiority and helped inspire ideals of devotion and
erudition. Situated in the context of the 2020–2021 pandemic, Studies in Solitude also considers how such images participated in the development of gendered and class-based conceptions of privileged space that are still felt today.
Curated by Suzanne van de Meerendonk
Studies and Solitude and its related programs are generously supported by the Bader Legacy Fund.
Find out more: https://agnes.queensu.ca/exhibition/studies-in-solitude-the-art-of-depicting-seclusion/
September 4 (Saturday) 1:00 pm - June 12 (Sunday) 5:00 pm
Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Queen’s University, 36 University Avenue, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7L 3N6