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Delft biblical wall tile showing the Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness. Dutch, 17-18th century? 131mm x 131mm
Private collection Great Britain

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Matthew: Chapter 4, 1-11. King James Version.

This wall tile shows the Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness. The Devil is offering Christ stones to be turned into bread (note what seems to be a wooden cross on the left hand side of the roundel). The tile has an interesting history; it was discovered in a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan by cleaners while sorting through the temple’s unwanted bric-a-brac. Given the long (400-year) relationship between the Dutch and the Japanese it’s not surprising that an object with a biblical theme should have found its way to Japan. It’s a mystery, however, why such an object should have ended up in a Buddhist temple in Kyoto. Perhaps one of our readers can shed more light on the subject.


The Rijksmuseum

Mark Savage writing for BBC News Entertainment & Arts reports that –

When Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands officially reopens the Rijksmuseum [this] week, it will mark the end of a painful restoration project. The work ran five years over schedule and millions of euros over budget. The Dutch state museum has been closed since 2003. Renovation was delayed by flooding, asbestos and a dispute over access for cyclists. “It was kind of Murphy’s Law,” says museum director Wim Pijbes. “What could go wrong did go wrong.”

On Wednesday, Johannes Vermeer’s The Milkmaid was rehung, making it the last major work to return to the museum in the heart of Amsterdam. The old masters draw the eye, but so do the intricately decorated ceilings and pillars that frame them – all painstakingly recreated after being painted over in the post-war years. In the halls flanking the grand gallery, the decoration is more modern. British artist Richard Wright, a former Turner Prize winner, has dusted the ceilings with almost 50,000 stars, hand-painted in a swirling, shifting constellation. It all serves to set up the Rijksmuseum’s biggest star – Rembrandt’s Night Watch.

The museum is newly illuminated by 3,800 individual LED lights, which lack the paint-destroying heat and UV rays of incandescent bulbs. They were installed by Dutch lighting specialists Philips, who also claim the LEDs enhance the viewing experience. “Incandescent lights focus on ambers and reds,” says the company’s chief design officer, Rogier van der Heide. “The LED adds a beautiful return of the blues and greens. The cooler colours are clearer… So we get to see the full beauty of the colour spectrum.”

Full article here. See also our Kyoto National Museum under renovation feature.



June 2022
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