The "Tupperware" of Bruegel, Aertsen & Co.

Raeren and Rhenish stoneware on Dutch Renaissance and Baroque paintings

This autumn and winter, the Pottery Museum Raeren is presenting a very special exhibition: 80 paintings by the most famous representatives of so-called Dutch genre painting are being shown as high-quality reproductions in original size. The highlight is that all of them depict "Raeren pots" as they were used by the people of the 16th - 18th centuries. Of course, the museum will also be showing the originals from its own collections. The exhibition is also accompanied by a 500-page catalogue with more than 600 such paintings and extensive explanations. 

Just as the so-called "Tupperware" can be found in the cupboards of every household today and is used for storing or transporting food and drink or for serving and drinking, it was impossible to imagine the homes of our ancestors without Rhenish stoneware in earlier times.

This particularly high-quality, durable and often richly decorated pottery was produced in huge quantities from the 13th/14th century onwards in various potteries in the Rhineland, e.g. in Raeren, and exported to the whole of north-eastern Europe. It was part of daily life, not only of the peasants but also of the rich burghers and merchants, the clergy and the nobility. Today it can be found in the collections of many museums around the world. 

Panopticon of the life of our ancestors

The best-known examples, which everyone probably knows, are the Raeren jugs in the paintings "The Peasant Dance" and "The Peasant Wedding" by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. But Rhenish and especially Raeren stoneware vessels are also depicted in a large number of other Flemish and Dutch paintings from the 15th to 17th centuries. These so-called genre paintings show a broad panopticon of life in the Netherlands of this period: peasant scenes, religious paintings, but also bourgeois interiors, still lifes and other pictorial contents. You can see in a very vivid way how our ancestors lived, worked and celebrated, using the jugs, pitchers and mugs made by the Raeren potters and sold all over the world in all situations of life. 

High-quality reproductions in original size

Around 80 high-quality reproductions of such paintings, which are scattered throughout the world's major museums, are now on display at the Raeren Pottery Museum in a special exhibition and combined with Raeren stoneware jugs that were excavated on site and belong to the museum's collection in Raeren Castle. Among the painters are world-famous names such as those of the Bruegel family, Pieter Aertsen, Jan Steen, Georg Flegel or David Teniers, but also lesser-known artists. The exhibits are complemented by extensive and easy-to-read text information explaining the contexts from different perspectives. This information is also made available in several languages as part of an interactive app for mobile devices.

Comprehensive exhibition catalogue

Yet the exhibition can only illuminate a small section of the subject, for in the course of years of research, the Raeren museum director has located more than 600 such paintings by more than 160 different painters and assigned them to the corresponding "Raeren pots". They can all be found in the exhibition catalogue, which has more than 530 pages in colour and is available at the Raeren Pottery Museum and at the bookshop IDEA (Gospertstr. 37, 4700 Eupen) at a price of €45 - not only documentation, but also a wonderful gift for anyone interested in art and history. 

For more information and a virtual view of the exhibition, click here:!

The exhibition will be on display at the Pottery Museum Raeren from 1 November 2022 to 1 May 2023. It is open daily, except Mondays, from 10am to 5pm, except Christmas Day and 1 January; Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are open from 10am to 1pm. Admission to the entire museum (including the special exhibition) is €3 for adults, €2 for young people up to 18, senior citizens and groups; children up to 12 and residents of the greater municipality of Raeren have free admission. 

Further information and a look at the exhibition can be found in the accompanying exhibition app and in the virtual tour of the company Nevsky: