Saturday, June 6, 2015

who knew?

that there is an outpost of the St Petersburg treasure palace The Hermitage located in Amsterdam... an annex, an Hermitage West - so to speak?   We found this right around the corner from the Jewish Museum and decided to return another day for a visit-  Upon our arrival we headed down a hallway to the permanent exhibit on the building history and former use- along the way we came across some kids' art work on display- several really nice pieces caught my eye--- a few budding Rembrandts in this crowd - or at least Cezannes- LOL

 There were two traveling exhibitions- one from Russia and another from right here in Amsterdam-

back to the building -

the golden age exhibit (no photos in the Russian one)

the neighborhood is quite charming with bridges and bicycles and water- LOL - exactly a microcosm of Amsterdam itself...

so we are nearing the end of the trip- all we have left to report on are two exquisite meals and one exquisite art collection - in the private home of Jan Six (the 10th)  - all we could take was a photo of the house - (which is directly across the water from the Hermitage Amsterdam- kind of fitting) The entry to the Six Collection is by a personal e-mail invitation

From a website on Amsterdam Museums-

An exquisite small museum located in a private house of the Dutch aristocratic Six family with roots reaching back to the year 1032. The Six's collected art and were wise enough to preserve it through the centuries, although eight most valuable paintings from their collection including “The Milkmaid” by Vermeer were purchased in 1908 by the Dutch State and are now to see at the Rijksmuseum. (and as I know from prior research the Girl with the Pearl Earring was also a part of the Six Collection.) 

The stately house facing the River Amstel houses the collection from 1915, when the Six family had to move here from another still bigger house in the canals. The collection offers a unique view into the life of the Dutch wealthy aristocratic family not only through their historical portraits, but also in being admitted to the house full of interesting objects and fine antique furniture, remaining in everyday use by the descendants of the Six family. And as long as the city of Amsterdam covers a part of the high conservation costs of the collection, its owners are ready to admit the public to their house.

The truly wonderful portrait of Jan Six (1618 - 1700), Amsterdam mayor, writer and art collector painted in 1654 by Rembrandt is the highlight of the collection. The artist did not sign the portrait - the fact which is usually explained by his friendship with the model. For us this magnificent painting, probably one of the best by Rembrandt, although never completed has a unique value of a glimpse into the painter’s impressionistic technique, centuries ahead of its time. And while other paintings at the Six Collection are of lesser value, the whole setting of the interior, furniture and small artefacts is simply unique. (my own emphasis is added)

I would say that seeing that Rembrandt was the art highlight of the entire trip for me. I am awe struck by the ability to render so much with just a few strokes of paint - some even done with a finger rather than a brush according to the docent- 

astounding work! To me this one portrait tops the pyramid of all of Rembrandt's work- the absolute pinnacle and we were so lucky to get to see it in the drawing room of Jan Six (generations later - now Jan Six the 10th) As we were leaving the Six Collection we met and shook hands with Jan Six (X) - and honestly it was very cool- we wondered to each other over a drink in a cafe nearby what it must be like to live with that kind of family history and legacy surrounding you every day...obviously we will never know....

one more quick segment before we leave Amsterdam (and one last post on two fabulous meals as well)  on the souvenirs in the flower market- just too colorful to leave out- 

and the landmark nearby - The Munt Tower was originally part of the Regulierspoort, one of the main gates in Amsterdam's medieval city wall. The gate, built in the years 1480, consisted of two towers and a guard house. This is part of what remains today-

So other than food- we have reached the end of our time in Amsterdam- eight nights and we still had things left to see... an excuse to return... which we will do much sooner than this interval... the city is more vibrant and delightful than ever (well maybe except for the 350,000 bikes you have to compete with as a pedestrian) and with non stop flights from Chicago - no reason not to go back sooner rather than later.  And as we always say - and have repeated today due to a loss in Phil's folk community yesterday of a Peter Clark  (a large donor to FolkStage) - GO NOW! One never knows when your number will be called.... 

I promise the two amazingly fabulous meals will be detailed before the end of the weekend! I will keep posting until caught up!..... 

art art and more art

Well I could probably do several posts on the art we saw in the Netherlands - the don't call them the Dutch Masters for nothing... but I will spare you the blow by blow and try to just give you an overview and "tasting menu" -

These are just a few of the amazing things we saw in the Rijksmuseum -

I found this dog so appealing I took a photo of him nearly twenty years ago when I first visited the Rijksmuseum - oddly despite the fact that I am twenty years older (19 to be exact) he has not changed a bit!

but on to the museum itself-

we did the second floor first and then worked our way down stairs to the newer eras---

the rendering of the lace and gold embroidery is magnificent!

the hand and its shadow - the very essence of aesthetic arrest for me- the details of these massive paintings are what awes me...


I love this best of all marriage portraits because they actually seem to be happy!

maybe the celebrated with oysters from a nearby painting?

the crowds in front of Vermeer's milkmaid - even the Girl with the Pearl Earring or the Goldfinch caused this Mona Lisa like phenomenon...


even in the museum it is spargle season!

here is an interesting idea- we could certainly use these in our airports and shopping malls and museums etc...

so at this point I will leave the Rijksmuseum and go on to the nearby Van Gogh...

there are no photos inside the museum so here are some from the walk between the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum- a parade of bunnies---

the brochure and tickets-

and a postcard I bought of a cool Van Gogh I was not familiar with- he used sand in the mixture of the paint of the sea and sky-

I don't think this shows as well as on the picture - wish I could have taken a close up- but the little specks are actually grains of sand!

we still have the Hermitage Amsterdam to cover and a couple of magnificent meals- so come on back - there's more.....always more-