Art Culture

Caravaggio inspired street art in Utrecht

Street art in Utrecht, The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

Maybe you’re not that interested in street art. Maybe you are more into classic art, by old masters. Like Rembrandt, Vermeer or Caravaggio? Well, in that case I’d really like to come and invite you to my hometown Utrecht as over the last months 3 fantastic murals have popped up in the streets of Utrecht. The originals were made by Caravaggists, the murals were made by De Strakke Hand and are equally impressive.

This is is Caravaggio year in Utrecht, as the city’s most important museum, Centraal Museum, is showcasing some beautiful work by the Italian master. But the museum is also paying homage to Caravaggists. These were painters who, at the start of the 17th century, were so mesmerised by Carravaggio’s work that they travelled thousands of kilometres to Italy to be closer to their idol and perfect the techniques they learned from him.

A couple of these Caravaggists were actually from Utrecht. I can only imagine how the fame of Carravaggio may have reached them in the 17th century, the invention of photography, television and the internet still centuries away. And them paying a fortune for a long and tiresome journey to Italy to become better painters and fill the footsteps of their idol Caravaggio.

After reading all this, it’s no surprise to me that Utrecht’s Centraal Museum commissioned street artist collective De Strakke Hand to depict masterworks by the three most important Caravaggists from Utrecht on giant buildings across the city.

Caravaggio inspired street art in Utrecht

The Lute Player

The first piece The Strakke Hand did was a fragment of Dirck van Baburen’s The Lute Player, which can be seen at Attleeplantsoen. It’s right near one of the entrance roads of Utrecht and I’ve spotted it first when I came back from a long trip. It was a very nice welcome home. The original was painted by Caravaggist Van Baburen in 1622.

Street art in Utrecht, De Luitspeler

A sleeping knight

I cycle past this mural a couple of times a week, on my way to and from Utrecht central station. The sleeping night is actually The Sleeping Mars, after a painting by Hendrick ter Brugghen in 1629. He painted this work during the 80-year war against the Spanish and The Sleeping Mars depicts a sleeping God of War, Mars. The work by De Strakke Hand is surprisingly detailed for such a large work and you’ll be able to spot it at Westplein.

Street art in Utrecht, Slapende Mars | Your Dutch Guide

Street art in Utrecht, Slapende Mars | Your Dutch Guide

The largest mural in Utrecht

It’s no coincidence that I am writing this blog now, as the last of the Caravaggist murals is to be officially released today. But I couldn’t help myself and hop on my bike yesterday to go and see for myself. And my, was I impressed. With 33 meters this mural is the highest one in Utrecht, so far. it’s an 11 story high version of Abraham Bloemaert’s The Flute Player.

Street art in Utrecht, De Fluitspeler | Your Dutch Guide

How to see Caravaggio inspired street art in Utrecht

Since the murals are quite far apart, it’s best to rent a bike in Utrecht and look up the locations of these works of art on Google maps.

More about Utrecht, The Netherlands

  • It’s easy to get to Utrecht from Amsterdam, it’s only 30 minutes by train. You’ll need an OV Chip Card to travel on public transport in The Netherlands. Check the train timetables for the latest travel information.
  • There is loads to see and do in Utrecht. You can read all about it in my complete guide on Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • Discover Utrecht by foot, bike and boat to see the best the city has to offer.
  • If you’re into art I highly recommend you go and see Rietveld-Schröder house. It was cutting edge when it was built in the 1920s and it’s still cutting edge today. No wonder it’s on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Caravaggio inspired street art in Utrecht
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Street art in Utrecht | Your Dutch Guide

Street art in Utrecht | Your Dutch Guide

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