Iziko Museums of South Africa is located in The Old Town House, this national monument was constructed in 1755 and was designed in the Cape Rococostyle. It first served for the “Burgherwacht Huys” (house for the night police) as well as the magistrate’s court.
In 1839, the building was designated as town hall, by the newly created municipality. After a series of renovations in 1915 the building was given by the Union Government for use as an art gallery.
The Michaelis Collection
The important art collection was founded in 1914 in which Sir Max Michaelis donated 68 paintings which were collected from Lady Phillipsand Sir Hugh Lane.
The gallery officially opened three years later and today is home to more than 104 paintings as well as 312 etchings. It contains paintings from Frans Hals Rembrandt, van Dyck, David Teniers the Younger, Jan Steen and Willem van Aelst.
Although the collection is not as large when compared to collections from the galleries of other countries, this collection provides an invaluable source of information on the development of Dutch and Flemish art through two centuries. The most renowned artworks in the collection is The Portrait of a Lady by Frans Hals.
The collection was further enriched by Lady Michaelis after the death her husband of 1932. The collection includes a world-renowned collection from Dutch and Flemish art from the 17th century Golden Age.
The portraits are fascinating they provide an insight into Dutch society of the time. Alongside their permanent exhibits, the museum hosts galleries of temporary exhibits which are designed to be appealing to residents as well as visitors. In the evening the gallery transforms into an art and cultural center, with chamber music concerts and talks.
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Featured photo: www.iziko.org.za