Portrait de John Wombell vêtu à l’indienne et fumant le hookah © Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris

Fantastical conceptions of India

Indomania. From Rembrandt to the Beatles

by Livia Romano

There were cardboard boxes and plastic chairs shoved in the corners of the grand marble entryway of BOZAR as I approached the exhibit Indomania: From Rembrandt to the Beatles. The gift shop outside the entrance consisted of books stacked on wooden crates, evoking the overseas trade that first brought Europeans to India. It feels as if we have docked at the port and are embarking on an adventure.


By the book or buy a book?

Erasmus in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

by Dinu Munteanu

“My wish is to be a citizen of the world” — and although the world did not always understand him, the man who in a tormented age had expressed this irenic desire has since become such a symbol. Erasmus sounds familiar, centuries after his death in 1536. A model of scholarly erudition, subtlety and wit, he was the most perceptive and nuanced Christian humanist of all times, a champion of Gospel truth, but also of classical antiquity, a truly unprecedented defender of peace, and a prodigy at making compromises without once…


Playing Paint and Painted Play

by Ruxandra E. Todosi

Forget criticism. Forget art history. Forget chronology and artistic divisions. Recall Cobra years: the post‑war struggle for upturned definitions of expression, the breaking with past constraints, the class clash, the desolation; the revival of…


Searching for Identity in the 1970s

by Miriam L. Weiss

Still under the impression of Den Bosch’s very own 70s show, I find a copy of the weekly magazine intermediair (last issue of 2007) on the train back to Maastricht. It is titled The Year of Identity – The Netherlands from A to Z and I read keywords like bicycle, Maxima, holidays, Yab Yum (it was one of the best-known brothels in Amsterdam), and kissing that are supposed to be characteristics of Dutch culture and identity. It is not the first information I have come across recently, indicating that the Dutch are trying to…


Een genie in dienst van Europa

Leonardo da Vinci in Brussel

by Eveliene Wassen

‘De De Medicis hebben me groot gemaakt, maar ook gesloopt,’ schrijft Leonardo da Vinci in 1515. De inrichting van de Sint Pieter werd namelijk door Paus Leo X, een telg uit dit geslacht, aan Rafaël en aan Michelangelo toevertrouwd. Toch klinkt Da Vinci’s naam tegenwoordig in één adem met beide andere grootheden. Deze spirituele kunstenaar, wetenschapper, uitvinder en humanistisch filosoof is één van de grootste…


Why destroy Asmara?

Africa’s Secret Modernist City

The inhabitants of Asmara, the capital of the young African nation of Eritrea The inhabitants of Asmara, the capital of the young African nation of Eritrea situated in the mountains towering to the east of the Red Sea, have seen their share of conflict and violence. Neighboring Somalia, Ethiopia, and Sudan, the Eritrean city is regional witness to a century characterized by colonialist exploitation, racist genocide, ideologically fused proxy wars maintained by the cold war superpowers, despotic dictatorships, and lethal ethnic clashes. Eritrea is known as a subject of countless news reports depicting yet another…