Part of Agnes’s Wellness Program
Jacob van Campen, Old Woman with a Book (detail), 1625–1630, oil on canvas. Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2013
Slow down! Deeply observe works of art in Studies in Solitude. Guided by a community facilitator, this contemplation practice allows for relaxation and new insights. Part of Agnes’s Wellness Program.
The artworks brought together in Studies in Solitude illustrate how early modern Dutch 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 renewed concerns around topics of isolation and exposure brought on by 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.
Gracelynn Lau is a registered expressive arts therapist with the Ontario Expressive Arts Therapy Association and community facilitator pursuing her PhD in the Cultural Studies Interdisciplinary Graduate Program at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada.