Sunrise over the Rijksmuseum

September 24, 2008

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The Rijksmuseum - taken from my hotel room window

I wasn’t intending to go to the Rijksmuseum. I love art but have a very limited appreciation for the old fashioned stuff. Maybe it’s the Gen Y in me that isn’t particularly impressed with the technical expertise needed to capture the moment in a room-sized painting that takes a year to complete. Add to that the “iNtuitive” tendency to prefer abstraction and concepts over details and really, I’d much prefer modern art.

But I’m staying right next to Museumplein and can see the Rijksmuseum from my window (and can hear its bells chime every 15 minutes) so I figured that not going was doing the museum a great disservice! Anyway, I was free early morning so before breakfast, I zipped around the corner and went to see the masterpieces of the Rijksmuseum.  (They are doing a reno so only it’s mainly the stuff from the Golden Age that is on view.)

I’m so glad I did. I did the whole tourist thing (guidebook and audio tour) and loved every minute of it.  It’s a fantastically curated exhibition.  My dad would have loved the Rijksmuseum too. He loves Rembrandt and ships and there are plenty of both.  As for me, I liked the dolls houses. I always wanted a dolls house as a kid although I think it slightly obscene that the rich would pay the equivalent for a small canal house for one.  I found about about Frans Hals and loved his confident and expressive brushstrokes. I started to appreciate Rembrandt and understand why he is as revered as he is.  When you see enough of his work together, you kinda “get it”.  So many highlights.  Too many to mention.  Suffice it to say, I enjoyed myself much much more than I thought I would.  Good art makes me happy.

As an aside, 2 paintings that I really really really want to see while I’m in Holland, which I’m not going to be able to, are “The Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer (it’s in the Hague) and “Cafe Terrace at Night” by Van Gogh (somewhere).  Pity.

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