Wednesday, July 21, 2010


We had a long day and only discussed 12 paintings!!! Class started at 9:30 but went til noon and then we had to be at the train station for 1:00 as the train left at 1:10. Thus, I used lunch to get a hard copy of my assignment at a print shop and then had a picnic along a canal with some fellow students. There is never too much time to spare. We went into Amsterdam to the Rijksmuseum which is like a castle, but the museum is only on two floors and we saw most of it. We looked at paintings that I remember seeing on the playing cards in the game 'Masterpiece'. I could preselect the painting she wanted us to view when we entered the room, before she would say. We were in two groups. One did their own analysis as the other discussed their paintings with the instructor then we switched. Dutch Art has secrets in the images so it was fun to see if we could read anything significant. Debbie, you will recall 'The Merry Drinker' from 'Masterpiece', that was my first painting to analyse. He looks quite 'pickled' in the painting. I loved Frans Hals' brush strokes, much like Toulouse Lautrec. Then portraits of Rembrandt from age 22 to his older years. We looked at Jacob Van Ruisdael's contrived landscapes, which I do not enjoy as much. They look like hotel paintings or the ones that were fashionable in the 60 - 70's to be on feature walls in our parent's homes. festoon of Fruits by Jan Davidg de Heem is beautifully creepy as it is actually decaying before us with bugs all over it. This piece has a lot of historians 'buzzing' about its meaning. The Johanas Vermeers were gorgeous in every aspect...colour, technique, symbolism, artistry. 'The Milkmaid' would look fantastic in my home. It sparkles. Beside that one hangs 'The Little Town' which is so pleasant in colour and depiction of an every day street scene that it is restful to look at. He was good in terms of drawing and colour. 'The Night Watch' did not steal the show for me, but I still felt privilaged to view it. It is huge, but was cut to be much smaller than the original. There was much controversy over the painting in its time. I think mainly it would have been over its size rather than the portraits. The movement in the composition is impressive. The lighting is of interest and Rembrandt's trade-mark. I viewed it twice. The winter landscape by Hendrick Avercamp was alright but not my favorite. Rembrandt's portrait of his wife 'Saskia' motivated much discussion over her expression and the perspective of her face. I guess you could discuss her for about five years. I think she would have liked her husband's portrayal of herself. Franz Hals - portrait of Massa and BEtrix again is very loose and enjoyable. It had many symbolism in regards to marriage and contentment. Jacob Van Ruisdael's famed windmill at Wijk Duurstede (sp) is again not as interesting to me. He manipulated the atmosphere and perspective of the image to make a collaged landscape. Again, I saw copies in homes in the 70's. The 1970's was actually the time when art critics began to discover Dutch Art symbolism and it came to the forefront as the vogue art to buy. These pieces were worth very little before the 70's and then skyrocketed into priceless masterpieces. Rembrandt again delights our eye with 'The Jewish Bride'. The thick paint and technique of applying paint creates amazing effects with light and richness of colour. This is also an interesting painting to discuss in terms of the couple's relationship and expressions. Gerard ter Borch, I was not familiar with and we looked at "The Paternal Admonition" which is about settling terms with a 'lady of the evening'. 'The Merry Family' by Jan Steen was fun but creepy as well. It is full of figures of a 'lude' family carrying on is inappropriate manners. The women especially fall short in their decorum, as they have not even ironed the table cloth and they are drinking and singing. The Bible has been set aside. The children as well are having a good time drinking and smoking. The little ones look like older relatives that over stay their welcome at times as they carry on at festive occasions. Very improper indeed!

It was now 6:00, a group of us took photos of the 'I AM STERDAM' monument and then ran to catch up for the tram. It was funny for when we got on there was the rest of our group. My travel group had a fun time riding home to Utrecht on the train, as we were hungry, tired and giddy. We even sang French children's songs like 'Petite Poison'. We got back after 7:00 and some of us had pancakes at the greatest pancake restaurant ever. I had Brazilian which was basicly tasted like a pecan pie. It tasted like Christmas. Then we came home and before you turned around it was 11:00.

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