Holland is a wonderful country. A bit crowded, but still awesome. I plan on going to Den Haag tomorrow morning to go visit the Maruitshuis. The girl with the pearl lives there. Im excited to see what all the fuss is about. I think it’s a pretty decent painting from what I have seen from the reproductions. The anatomy lesson by Rembrandt is also there. I am extremely excited to see this painting, even with the flaws in the perspective. I don’t know what else to do in the Nederlands other than going to the museums. It should be boring. I have my sketchbook handy though.
The Maruitshuis in Den Haag (The Hague) has a fantastic collection of about 800 paintings. Im not sure exactly how many are on display but its the perfect size museum with am extremely high quality collection of paintings. I love the dutch 17th century for a number of reasons. The paint application and technique, and the meanings behind the paintings. I especially love the paintings based on old dutch proverbs. I love that they loved paintings so much in holland that many normal middle class people bought artwork for their homes. The dutch made lots of artwork just for the sake of making it, where as far as I have noticed other countries weren’t so interested in just making art for the sake of making art. Most other countries stuck to religious art, or mythological scenes. I have seen so much of the religious and mythological genre’s that I rarely get excited about one of those paintings.
I think the last religious painting I got excited about was “Le Christ” by Bonnat. It’s truly incredible. I was blown away by it. It happened to be hanging in the Musee D’Orsay in Paris. I saw this wonderful painting by Rembrandt. It’s absolutely breath-taking in person. Each face is so naturalistic that I felt as if they would blink or say something. Other parts of the painting aren’t perfect, like the drawing of the cadaver for example. It’s too short. The head is also too big. Also in a dissection they would never ever start with the arm. They would have gone through the torso and abdomen first. Rembrandt chose to dissect the arm first because it works better for the painting. It all comes down to intentions in my opinion.
Holland is quite amazing. I found a hostel for 14 euros a night. It provides a sketchy internet connection and the other basics. People in hostels a weird. Really weird. There was one musician type fellow dubbed “That American Bloke” by one of the British kids that was there ended up urinating in the room by my bed. How charming. Thank you American Bloke… Thats the funny thing about all of this. A drunk guy peeing in the corner is something you would see in a 17th century dutch painting. They embrace humanity and accept that people are weird and flawed. At least that’s the vibe I get from it all. The dutch seem to understand that people are weird, and will always be weird, and do weird things, and many people wont accept these weird behaviors. The mentality it seems is “We are going to let the weird be, but we will definitely learn from the weird.” Is this what tolerance is? It seems like it to me, but what do I know. In egypt they freak out if a man kisses a woman in public. It’s sad to me, because I think kissing is a beautiful thing, and when someone gets pissed off at a couple kissing in public it usually seems to be because they are envious of the couple. I have always learned from other people’s examples it seems.
Jan Steen did a great job of illustrating what example’s parents shouldn’t be setting for their children:
I love this painting because everyone and everything has meaning to it. Notice its obviously daytime and the parents are drinking, and the father figure (which is supposed to be a self portrait of Jan Steen himeself) teaches his son to smoke tobacco, and a nice young age. The wealthier dutch folk loved these sorts of paintings because of they showed a clear example of how not to raise children. Maybe these themes need to be revived. At least thats my opinion. I am very interested in re-visiting some of these themes in the near future. I can’t wait in fact. I studied the frames extremely closely as well, making sure to study every frame that caught my eye. I have become very interested in frames that are more linear but still very complex and elegant. I made quite a few drawings of moulding that was derived from the frames that I appreciated. I want to attempt to make my own in the style of these particular frames.
I made it to three museums while I was in Amsterdam, ate good good, and had good drink. Its nice that I was so familiar with the place. I didn’t use a map all that much. I didn’t need a map when I walked to the Rijks Museum. That felt like an accomplishment. I also got an audio tour if the Rijks. The day before at the Maruitshuis I had a free audio tour and it really made a difference on what I had noticed. I really appreciated the commentary, and it helped me realize the consistency of the dutch themes. After a while the dutch proverb paintings began to really make a lot more sense to me. I think they are themes that would definitely hold true today and would be executable in a contemporary sense.
I made a huge mistake the second day of going to the Rijks again, but I made the best of it with the audio guide. I should have went to the Hermitage Museum, but it dawned on me too late. I was about 3:30 when I realized that Maureen told me to go. I guess I am just going to have to come back. I would like to bring a friend along.