A new masterpiece in a flash

Flash Back

1 June –16 October 2022

Millions of pairs of eyes have admired the paintings in the Mauritshuis over the past 200 years. The masterpieces on our walls evoke different feelings in everyone. So what happens when the new masters of today pick up where the old masters left off? Discover the answer in FLASH | BACK. Sixteen top photographers – among them Erwin Olaf, Rineke Dijkstra, Anton Corbijn and Sanja Marušić – have produced new work inspired by the seventeenth-century paintings in our collection.

The result is sixteen new masterpieces, one for each room in the Mauritshuis. They are currently on show there, hanging, standing or lying among the seventeenth-century artworks that inspired them. Once you’ve seen these new masters, you’ll never look at Rembrandt, Vermeer and Jan Steen in the same way again.

About the exhibition

The photographers are all Dutch or Flemish, just like the painters who created the great masterpieces at the Mauritshuis. The new masters studied each painting down to the smallest detail before making their choice. Iconic images and public favourites, and also lesser-known gems all feature in FLASH | BACK. Expect sixteen surprising and original takes on seventeenth-century art. None of the photos is a remake of the original painting.

All audio clips

  • Hedwig Wösten

    Curator FLASH | BACK

Ahmet Polat, It’S All In The Game, Flashback Mauritshuis
Ahmet Polat, It's All In The Game, 2022. Inspiration: Michael Sweerts, Draughts Players, 1652.

From inspiration to finished photograph

Some of the work adds something to the original painting. Anton Corbijn’s contribution is a good example, appearing to bring Rembrandt’s Two African Men into the modern age. Vincent Mentzel, inspired by Vermeer’s View of Delft, shows how the city looks today. In other photographs, the connection is less obvious. Kevin Osepa was inspired by Albert Eckhout’s Study of Two Brazilian Tortoises. What does the newborn baby in the picture have to do with them?

On our Mauritshuis app the photographers talk about the entire process, from inspiration to finished photograph. They reveal the story behind the image, and the ideas and emotions they experienced in the making of it.

All audio clips

  • Kevin Osepa


    Kevin Osepa Flashback
Kevin Osepa, Zeh, Flashback Mauritshuis
Kevin Osepa, Zèh, 2022. Inspiration: Albert Eckhout, Study of Two Brazilian Tortoises, 1640.
“A surprising look at the often over-familiar paintings and a breath of fresh air in the museum galleries.”
Harmen van Dijk, Trouw

The new masters

FLASH | BACK features new work inspired by old masters, created by: Sara Blokland, Morad Bouchakour, Anton Corbijn, Elspeth Diederix, Desirée Dolron, Rineke Dijkstra, Kadir van Lohuizen, Sanja Marušić, Vincent Mentzel, Erwin Olaf, Kevin Osepa, Ahmet Polat, Carla van de Puttelaar, Viviane Sassen, Dustin Thierry and Stephan Vanfleteren. The photographers were selected in collaboration with the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam.

Carla Van De Puttelaar, Lamentation, Flashback Mauritshuis
Carla van de Puttelaar, Lamentation, 2022. Inspiration: Rogier van der Weyden, The Lamentation of Christ, c. 1460-1464.
Sanja Marušić tells us what inspired her photograph.


FLASH | BACK is sponsored by Nationale-Nederlanden, Dutch Masters Foundation and the Mondrian Fund.

Mauritshuis Flash Back Sponsoren