The inspiration for making this Dutch Split Pea Soup is this handsome guy who lived from 1606-1674. I had the most wonderful evening with him last night!
A dear friend, who is a docent at our art museum, asked me to join her for the members' opening lecture and exhibit preview of the new and exciting Jan Lievens Exhibit, a forgotten artist who was a contemporary of Rembrandt. It opens to the public today.
It was like attending a rock concert! We arrived over an hour before the lecture was to begin and there was already a huge line that had formed. The lecture was given by the Washington National Gallery of Art curator Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr. I believe we are only one of three or four cities world-wide to host this wonderful exhibit.
Lievens was a friend of Rembrandt's, being born only one year later and in the same town in Holland. They may have even shared a studio. Lievens painted many portraits of Rembrandt which are featured in the exhibit. It was recently discovered that the man holding the pipe in the following painting is Rembrandt at the tender age of 17 which means Lievens would have done this painting when he was only 16!
Lievens was a brilliant artist whose massive paintings and career became overshadowed by that of Rembrandt's and thus, faded from importance and art history.
He was a prodigy at an early age. He painted the following portrait when he was only 14 yeas old! Can you imagine someone so young being able to depict the facial nuance and character of an older woman? The brush strokes seen in this painting are amazing in person.
The following painting of Rembrandt's mother was purchased by a local area physician in the 1950s thinking it was a Rembrandt. It is now known that it was actually painted by Lievens.
It was breathtaking to see so many of Lievens wonderful paintings face to face and so close you could have touched them. No cordons at our museum!
Hope you enjoyed my mini Lievens art lecture and exhibit :)
In honor of the Dutch Master, here is my favorite recipe for Dutch Split Pea Soup or Erwtensoep~
Erwtensoep (Dutch Split Pea Soup)
Adapted from a recipe in The Junior League Centennial Cookbook
1 pound dried split peas
1 shank or butt end of smoked ham (1-1/2 to 2 pounds)
3 large onions, chopped coarse
1 leek, thoroughly cleaned, halved lengthwise, and sliced crosswise
2 celery ribs, copped coarse
2 carrots, chopped coarse
1 potato, chopped coarse
2 teaspoons thyme
Freshly ground pepper
4 knockwurst, sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon hickory smoked salt (optional)
¼ cup chopped parsley
If the peas require soaking, soak overnight covered in water. Drain before starting the soup. Combine the ham with the peas and 3 quarts of water in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook 30 to 40 minutes, skimming frequently.
Add the onions, leek, celery, carrots and potato. Add the thyme and season well with salt and pepper. Simmer slowly, uncovered, for about 5 hours or until very thick, stirring occasionally.
Remove the ham shank. Discard the bone and cut the meat into small pieces and return to the soup with the optional sliced knockwurst 30 minutes before serving. Add the optional smoked salt and stir in the parsley. Serve with whole-grain bread and sweet butter.