Holland – a land full of surprises, strange traditions, free-spirited people and a rich history. Charlotte Dematons, known for her well-loved picture book The Yellow Balloon, grew up in France, but moved to the Netherlands to study art as so many have before her. With the eye of an outsider but a warm heart for the country that became her new home, Charlotte Dematons paints with a keen eye for the detail for everything that makes The Netherlands so Dutch.

One thought on “Holland

  1. Prisca & Ray Martens says:

    I’ve never been to Holland but this book makes me really want to go! The paintings are stunning with such incredible detail! You can see the patients and their visitors through the different windows of the hospitals, people purchasing items from various vendors at the market, who is inside the trucks and cars on the highway, kids playing typical Dutch games. Without the accompanying book, A Thousand Things About Holland (Dematons & Goossens, 2013), I’d be lost. That explains each detail in the paintings, providing information about Dutch culture and history. Some of the paintings seem to combine historical events and scenes with modern day Holland in the same painting.
    This book is an amazing example of a pictorial book (wordless). The endpapers are part of the entire story of Holland as shown in the book. I keep thinking of the amount of time it took Charlotte Dematons to do the detailed paintings which show us a history and the country of Holland. There is so much visual information in each work of art. This book is a great example of visual text. We can read each visual work and gain so much information without any written text. This book shows how artists can communicate information visually and thus become a way to communicate universally from one culture to another without written text. Visual art is the oldest form of communication known to man that we have evidence of. Thus, visual art is a basic part of every culture and should be one of the basics of all education curriculums.
    Yes, the research that went into this is remarkable! I love how Dematons wove so many different aspects of Holland into the paintings, including figures from children’s literature. Characters from nursery rhymes and other books, such as Alfie the Werewolf (Paul van Loon), Kikker (Max Velthuijs), Quibus from The Umbrella (Ingrid & Dieter Schubert, 2010), and even Harry Potter is in one of the paintings! I love too that Dematons included several recurring images that appear in each of the paintings, like a Dutch heron, a yellow balloon from one of her earlier books, a gnome, and the Chameleon (a boat belonging to twins in a classic children’s book series by Hotze de Roos). Without A Thousand Things About Holland, though, many of those things might be missed. Who are some of the artists and art pieces you noticed in the book?
    Artists are shown right from the start of the book. Such greats as Hans Holbein, Rembrandt, Mondriaan, Vermeer, Vincent van Gogh, Jean Dubuffet and Pieter Bruegel are just a few of the artists in the book. Dematons shows both artists who were from Holland or have works shown in different collections throughout Holland. Many lesser known, but equally great artists, are part of many of the illustrations. One of my favorite depictions on one page shows workmen removing THE NIGHT WATCH from the Rembrandt House. Rembrandt is standing in the front doorway watching the removal of his famous work. I love how Dematons and Goossens, in the second book on page 17, gives us a little history of Rembrandt’s life, including the fact that Rembrandt basically died bankrupt and his heirs had to rent a grave to bury him. Van Gogh suffered almost a similar fate. He sold only one painting in his lifetime. Now his paintings, like Rembrandt’s works, sell for millions. His PORTRAIT OF DR. GACHER (1890) was sold in 1990 for $82.5 million. All of the facts, along with many more, help to give you additional information about each small part of the illustrations in part one of this magnificent set. I can’t say enough about this work. It is one of the best pictorial picturebooks yet published.

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