September 16 2016

Image of #MissingRembrandt

Picture: Guardian

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford has announced a display of all four known 'senses' paintings by Rembrandt. It is the first time all four pictures have been on public display. The most recent addition to the series, 'Smell', was (as regular readers will remember) only discovered last year in a US auction house.

I'm full of admiration for the Ashmolean for doing this - demonstrates a fleetness of foot one rarely sees in larger museums these days. I'm also pleased to see that they're getting in on the discovery action by inviting the public to keep an eye out for the missing fifth picture. As the Guardian reports:

In lieu of the fifth painting, the Ashmolean will display an empty frame and will invite people to describe, draw, paint or Photoshop what they think the painting might look like. The submissions can be tweeted using the hashtag #MissingRembrandt.

A very clever idea. Let the hunt begin!

The show is on until 27th November.

Update - AAAARGH! There is absolutely no mention of the exhibition on the Ashmolean museum website - nothing on the home page, nothing on the news page, nothing on the current exhibition page, and nothing on the future exhibitions page. So visitors won't be able to follow up the news coverage by visiting the Ashmolean website and making further plans. I'm sorry to come over all Basil Fawlty here, but I mean really - what is the point? Why go to all the effort of getting good publicity in a national newspaper, and developing a clever social media idea, if you can't even keep your own website up to date? Which department at the Ashmolean just couldn't be bothered to think this one through? It's maddening when the left hand and right hand of a museum can't work together - and it happens far too often.

Update II - Rant successful - here it is now on the Ashmolean's exhibitions page.

Update III - on Saturday 29th October the Rembrandt scholar Prof. Christopher Brown will give a lecture on the paintings, tickets here.

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