The Rijksmuseum is huge, at least that's what I imagine-- we only made it through two wings before we needed lunch. Going to large museums or areas where a lot of tourists frequent, I often find myself tagging along with strangers as if I'm part of their group. It's inevitable in a way, the people you enter with tend to be at the same point of the tour or gallery as you are throughout your visit. But something about that is nice, especially if you're wandering on your own. It's nice to listen to a father explain a piece of work to his son or woman reflect on a period of time with a friend. It gives you a different perspective without being too intrusive. I like to sit back quietly and watch the different reactions. This was especially interesting in the Rijksmuseum as we weaved in and out of different periods of Dutch history. At some points you might see a proud Dutchman reflect positively about the accomplishments of Holland in the 16th and 17th centuries while at the same time a tourist from elsewhere can reflect very differently.
The Rijksmuseum was really a nice introduction to Dutch history, and I think I might take some time to go back. It's all really interesting with the expansion of trade and world travel throughout the 17th century. For instance Delftware was made popular only when Chinese porcelain became unavailable due to war.
above: Chinese porcelain
One my favorite things where these amazingly intricate doll's houses.
Walking past the rows of houses along the canals everyday, I can't help but imagine what they must have been like so many years ago. These doll's houses are so accurate that the furniture and rooms are actually to scale. Apparently they were very expensive to build, just as expensive as an actual canal house was back then!
An amazing project we've all been paying attention to is the Google Art Project. You can take a tour of the Rijksmuseum even if you can't come to the Netherlands just yet! Thanks technology! Now you have no excuse not to hang out with Rembrandt.
Onto Van Gogh! Right now there is a wonderful exhibit featuring Pablo Picasso's work during his time spent in Paris.
Picasso in Paris is a particularly interesting look at Picasso's evolution as an artist through the inspiration of being surrounded by and exposed to so many other artists during that time. There are many contrasts between Picasso's work and that of Toulouse-Lautrec, Steinlen, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Cezanne. Picasso was an artist who was able to borrow and absorb the work of others to help him grow. I find that this is a characteristic of a true collaborator and an open mind. I think about this all the time, especially in the "digital" age. We're constantly repurposing the work of others as that of our own, and it's important to remember that we must find a way to make it original too. Every piece of Picasso's work that I saw today was original in the purest form.
The theme of "stealing from everywhere" ran through the exhibit and reminded me of a quote I thoroughly enjoy from Jim Jarmusch:
Later in the day we tried to go to the Filmmuseum which is located in the beautiful Vondelpark. The museum is now known as Eye Film Institute Netherlands and unfortunately there were no exhibits today, but we did notice they have the largest library of film and film related books in the Netherlands, as well as 2 Theaters with reasonably priced admission. I'll be back!