Visiting Rembrandt

Over my last two days in The Netherlands, I did my Rembrandt tragic thing. I found the Latin School in Leiden he attended before enrolling but not attending university (hey, it was enough to get him drinking rigths, it seems).

The next day I walked over to the Rijksmuseum from my hotel (the main consideration being its location in the museum district). The group of people sitting on the grass were a group of French art history undergraduates, taking it in turns to give their tutorial presentations.

A note on tour guides: follow the French ones. More likely to be an art historian and far more interesting. Of course I wasn’t on that tour as such. I just happened to be looking at Vermeer’s ‘The Milk Maid’ at the same time. And testing out my French listening skills.

This next is the side gate of the Rijksmuseum, in use until the restoration project is complete.

I could have walked out and around to the Van Gogh museum. I didn’t though. I think I was still recovering from the Dutch masters and to have encountered the genius of Van Gogh on the same day would have been too much.

The only word I could use to describe my reaction is ‘swoon’. The Rembrandt portraits are astonishing in their beauty and compassion. Vermeer’s milkmaid is breathtaking in its simplicity and solidity. And the colours! Any reproduction you’ve seen does not do it justice. I was breathless at the luminosity of the yellow and brilliance of the blue.

And as a little taster the museum also had a room looking at three of Miro’s pieces based on some works by Jan Steen.

I’m going back to the Netherlands later in the year for more field work. I’ll take a good look at Van Gogh then.



  1. mary said,

    July 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    The best museum for me in Amsterday was the Resistance Museum – mainly because my father and Opa lived through World War 2 and Opa was active in the Dutch Underground.

    And I loved the 9 streets area ..

    • froginthepond said,

      July 5, 2010 at 5:17 pm

      Oh that’s on my list for next visit. That and Anne Frank Huis. I knew I couldn’t do either justice on my last day.

      Your Opa must have some amazing stories to tell.

  2. Stomper Girl said,

    July 6, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I went to – and adored- the Van Gogh museum, and Paul Simon was there at the same time (he was touring Europe at at the time and we saw him live in what was then still Czechoslovakia)

    • froginthepond said,

      July 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm

      OK, officially jealous over that one.

      I took a photo of a billboard in Porto advertising a 3-day music festival starring many of the Bloke’s favourite bands – Pearl Jam, Metallica etc. He wasn’t terribly impressed when I told him.

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