Listening to art

Audio tours of the Impressionism show at the Barberini

“I don’t paint cows, I paint light effects,” the Dutch artist Willem Maris is said to have said about one of his most important works today, “Calves at the Watering Trough” from 1863. Although depictions of landscapes had been a characteristic feature of Dutch art since the 17th century, the fact that light was given priority as a pictorial motif describes an astonishing development.

Dutch artists saw the works of the Barbizon painters during their travels to France. Like the French Impressionists in the forest of Fontainebleau, Dutch artists painted the light breaking through the trees in the forest of Oosterbeek as early as about 1850. The Hague School devoted themselves to the polder landscape under high skies and made rain-laden clouds over the meadow landscape the protagonists of their paintings. The painters of the Hague School were followed by the Amsterdam Impressionists in the 1880s. They discovered the city as a place of modern life with shopping streets, coffee houses and electric light. From 1890, the next generation of Dutch artists was inspired by French and Belgian Pointillism, which they encountered at exhibitions in Amsterdam and Leiden.

And you too can now embark on the journey. To delve even deeper into the contents of the exhibition Clouds and Light. Clouds and Light: Impressionism in Holland, various audio tours have been specially developed, which we have compiled for you here bundled with individual audio samples. Whether alone or in a group, from childhood to adulthood; the audio tours invite everyone to be all ears getting to know more about art from the Hague School to Pointillism and Luminism.

Audio Tour

The audio tour takes you on a journey through 60 years of Dutch painting history. With the development of impressionist plein air painting in France, nineteenth-century Dutch artists found new inspiration. Beginning in the 1880s, Impressionist influences from France sparked an interest in cityscapes and images of modern life, followed by the unleashing of color in the painting of Pointillism.

Audio example:

Kids Tour

The free Barberini App includes a special audio guide for children, which allows them to experience the museum in a completely different way. New stories, exciting ideas, and tricky challenges make a visit to the museum exciting for young visitors. What is it about the colorful fields and the windmills? How was life in Holland over a hundred years ago?

Audio example:

Kids´ Companion Tour

The app also includes a children’s accompanying tour for adults so that families can walk together from picture to picture. This Audioguide leads you alongside the kids’ audio tour. Discover the diversity of impressionist paintings in the exhibition together with your kids.

Audioguide on Meteorology

Cloud shapes, air layers, rainbows, wind directions: all this can be found in the Dutch paintings of this exhibition. An awareness of the weather shaped the vision of a new generation of artists from around 1850 as they turned their gaze toward nature and the landscape. Thanks to modern inventions they could capture their impressions of the landscape directly in front of the motif. Their intention was not to create a precise illustration of the landscape, but to evoke the unique atmosphere of specific weather conditions. Today, these paintings still convey information about the weather at the moment of their creation, about the prevailing conditions and fluctuations in the temperature, humidity, and energy content of the air. Meteorologist Franz Ossing vividly explains what we see and what it’s all about.

Audio example:

These and further audio tours were produced on the occasion of the exhibition “Clouds and Light. Impressionism in Holland” (8.7.- 22.10.2023) and are available free of charge on the Barberini App.

Header Image: Museum Barberini © David von Becker
Jacoba van Heemskerk, Two Trees, 1910, Kunstmuseum Den Haag, The Hague
Isaac Israëls, Donkey Riding on the Beach, 1890-1901, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Mr and Mrs Drucker-Fraser Bequest, Montreux
Detail: Willem de Zwart: At the Beach, 1886 Dordrechts Museum, acquired with the support of the Rembrandt Association (estate of J. J. Rinkes and M. E. Rinkes Hellwig) and the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, 2011
Piet Mondrian, Windmill in the Evening, 1917, Kunstmuseum Den Haag, The Hague, bequest Salomon B. Slijper
Museum Barberini © David von Becker