Friday 24 January 2020

My cultural life: Dr Adriaan Waiboer

Dr Adriaan Waiboer
Dr Adriaan Waiboer
Vermeer's Woman with a Balance
Anton Corbijn

Dr Adriaan Waiboer was born and raised in Holland and came to live in Ireland in 2004. He is head of collections and research at the National Gallery of Ireland. He joined the gallery in 2004 as curator of northern European art and organised a number of exhibitions, among them Northern Nocturnes: Nightscapes in the Age of Rembrandt (2005) and Vermeer, Fabritius & De Hooch: Three Masterpieces from Delft (2009). In 2010-11, he curated the exhibition on Gabriel Metsu, which was followed in 2012 by the publication of his monograph with catalogue raisonne. More recently, Waiboer has curated and coordinated the exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Paintings: Inspiration and Rivalry, which is due to open in the National Gallery of Ireland on June 17. He currently lives in Monkstown with his wife Tanya.

Artwork: Woman with a Balance

Vermeer's Woman with a Balance

Asking an art historian about their favourite works of art is a difficult one, because I would give you a different answer every single minute. But, having worked on the exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting, which will soon open at the National Gallery of Ireland, for nearly seven years, I think I am going to answer Johannes Vermeer's Woman Holding a Balance (above). This is, ultimately, one of the finest works ever painted on this planet. If anyone agrees, they are in luck, because the painting will be on view at the National Gallery of Ireland from mid-June.

Book: The Name of the Rose

It has to be The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. I have a weakness for whodunnits, and Eco's murder mystery set in a 14th-century Italian convent is the grandest in this category. It combines suspense, history, church history, biblical analysis, literary theory, and of course love, hate, jealousy and murder. What else do you need? It is amazing to think that this was Eco's debut novel.

Film: Papillon

The film that has stuck with me more than any other is Papillon by Franklin Schaffner. The film features two fantastic actors, Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman - both very charismatic in their own way. The film has it all: tragedy, despair, courage, persistence, hope and happiness and the film shows how all of these are so closely related to each other. The final few minutes of the film, when one of them is counting the waves in order to escape the island, and the other one wants to stay, are among the best that ever came out of Hollywood.

Photographer: Anton Corbijn

Anton Corbijn

It has to be Anton Corbijn (above). I have been following him since my youth. The fact that he is Dutch, like me, may play a role in my early admiration of his work - but these days the whole world adores him. His portraits of people like Miles Davis, Clint Eastwood, Henry Rollins and Pavarotti just rock. There is, of course, also a nice connection between Corbijn and Ireland, as he did the photography for the Joshua Tree album in the late 1980s. That collaboration was very fruitful for both Corbijn, as well as U2.

TV: Trapped

Trapped, an Icelandic mystery series.The build-up of the narrative, the melancholic atmosphere and the visuals were just superb and different from anything else on TV.

Sunday Independent

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