Local Heart, Global Soul

May 25, 2016

The Bling Of The “One Percent” Is Nothing New…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The next gallery in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum is called “Town Houses” according to the informational panel:
The grand houses that were built in Dutch towns from the middle of the 17th century were sometimes veritable city palaces.

This was often the case in Amsterdam. The houses in the eastern section of the city’s famous ring of canals were larger and more impressive than canal houses built earlier in the century.

Foreign visitors could not believe their eyes at the sight of so many splendid canal houses in a row.

All manner of costly materials, often imported by the Dutch East India Company, were used to decorate the interiors, including marble, exotic woods, lacquer work and mother-of-pearl, Oriental carpets, silver and gold.

Ceiling and walls were painted or hung with tapestries, gilt-leather or woven fabrics.

Town houses were an expression of the pride of an established, wealthy elite.”

It is certainly a testament to the fact that rampant materialism is nothing new, I am rather conflicted here, being on one hand in awe of the decorative beauty of the fine things on display here and on the other appalled at what was then (and is now) the blatant exhibition of wealth just for the sake of show, “bling” and the gap between the haves and the have-nots. It’s a reminder that the ” 1%” have existed throughout history and that “stuff” is an ever present symbol of status.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

May 24, 2016

Your Face Is Set In Stone, Your Hair In A Permanent Wave…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the Portrait room there are more than portraits in painted form, there  are also ones carved in marble too.

These busts are of prominent people of the time, and the detail not just in the faces but also in the texture of the hair, hands and cloth around them is nothing short of stunning.

It’s amazing that even the veins on the hands are so intricately carved, and such realism achieved.
Portrait of  Johannes Munter” Carrara marble, Amsterdam 1673, attributed to Bartholomeus Eggers (1637- before 1692)
Bartholomeus Eggers was one of the young sculptors trained by Artus Quellinus in his Amsterdam workshop.

Eggers’ portrait of Mayor Johannes Munter is still strongly influenced by his teacher’s style. However, the sculptor introduced a playful motif: Munter plays with the tassels of his collar with his left hand, subtly subverting the formal character of the bust.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Portrait of Gerard Schaep van Cortenhoeff” Carrara marble, attributed to Bartholomeus Eggers (1637- before 1692)
Gerard Schaep was one of the many conservative Calvinists among the Amsterdam regents. He was held in high esteem for his many years of public service: elected mayor a total of eleven times and served as the Republic’s envoy extraordinary to Denmark and Sweden. This lofty status warranted a monumental bust portrait in marble.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

May 23, 2016

Hare, Doggie, Doggie, Doggie, Doggie…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m still in the Portrait gallery of the Rijksmuseum, having looked at the portrait of the three Regentesses  in yesterday’s post, I am now taking a closer look at the fireplace and chimneypiece over which it stands.

The information panel reads:

Chimneypiece from the Leprozenhuis, Amsterdam” Marble, marbleized oak and pine. Northern Netherlands circa 1668.
This chimneypiece is made of marble and marbleized wood The horizontal frieze is decorated with carved auricular-style tendrils and flowers: nestled among them are the family arms of the three Regentesses portrayed by Ferdinand Bol: Clara Abba, Elisabeth van Duynen and Agatha Munter.”

This fireplace and chimneypiece has a lot of wonderful delftsblauwe (delft blue) tiles, mostly depicting dogs in sitting, standing and all sorts of jumping positions.

There are also rabbits, foxes, horses and other animals but it’s the digs who take centre stage throughout the montage. The shield decorations are wonderful too, but in a different way, the tiles are all about movement, humour, whimsy and character.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Chimneypiece 1b (Small)

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Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

May 22, 2016

The Rich In The City Are Cut From A Different Cloth…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My next stop in the Rijksmuseum is The Portrait Gallery: “Citizens in Power.”

There are many portraits here but a few especially caught my eye because of history or the stunning detail that the artists have managed to capture when rendering textiles.

I have to say that the ruff in the portrait of Andries Bicker amazes me for it’s apparent softness and transparency, yet stiffness of the fabric at the same time, the tablecloth and decorated dress fabric of the Regentesses painting is mesmerising to any lover of fabric design or detail.

Gerard, son of Andries Bicker was probably celebrated for his size, obesity being a sign of wealth in his day.
The information boards tell us:
True liberty” is what many people called the period that dawned in 1651. After the sudden death of Stadtholder William II, five f the seven provinces decided not to appoint a new Stadtholder and commander-in-chief.

The Dutch Republic became a nation without a head of state, and the House of Orange seemed to be shut out. All of the power fell into the hands of the citizens and the economic interests of the people determined policy. One citizen stood head and shoulders above everyone else: Johan de Witt of Dordrecht. This brilliant man was only 28 when, in 1652, he became the most important administrator of Holland and the Republic. During that period the countries power and prosperity seemed only to increase. this ended abruptly in 1672 however, when the country was attacked from all sides. The young Prince William III of Orange seized power and De Witt and his brother were brutally assassinated.”

The Ridderzaal of the Binnenhof during the Great Assembly of 1651” Oil on panel and metal , circa 1651 by Bartholomeus van Bassen (circa 1590-1652)  and Anthonie Palamedesz (1601-1673)
“Following the  death of Stadtholder William II, the States-General called for a special assembly in 1651. They decided not to appoint a new Stadtholder. This painting represents the important meeting when this decision was taken. Painted on the metal hinged flap is a table with the Latin motto of the Dutch Republic, which means “Unity makes strength”. When the flap is raised up, the room appears empty.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Portrait of Andries Bicker” Oil on panel 1642 by Bartholomeus van der Helst (1613-1670).
Andries Bicker, a merchant in Russia and dealer in spices, wield enormous administrative power. He was elected mayor of Amsterdam ten times, represented the city in the States-General, and served as ambassador to the Scandinavian nations, Poland and the Duchy of Brandenburg. When he sat to the celebrated Amsterdam portraitist Van der Helst, the Bickers were the most powerful family in the city.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Portrait of  Gerard Andriesz Bicker” Oil on panel circa 1642 by Bartholomeus van der Helst (1613-1670).
Like his father, the twenty-year-old Gerard Bicker is portrayed as self assured, his arm akimbo. The striking difference in the garments worn by father and son confirm that they are from different generations. While his father Andries is dressed in dignified black clothing with an old-fashioned ruff, Gerard wears a colourful and showy outfit with a flat collar and elegant gloves.  Gerard was not awarded as many key administrative positions in Amsterdam.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Regents of the Spinhuis and Nieuwe Werkhuis, Amsterdam” Oil on canvas,  1669 by Karel Dujardin (1626-1678)
A servant bringing a letter temporarily interrupts a meeting. The other five men are the regents of the Amsterdam Spinhuis, the female house of correction. The women imprisoned there for theft or begging spent most of their days spinning. Affluent citizens like these gentlemen administered these sorts of institutions. This was civic peace maintained.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Portrait of the Three Regentesses of the Leprozenhuis, Amsterdam” oil on canvas circa 1668 by Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680).
The Lepers’ Asylum originally took in patients suffering from leproy. Since that infection disease rarely still ocured during the 17th century, people with othe afflications were also cared fo there. Three regentesses (Clara Abba, Elisabeth van Duynen and Agatha Munter.) took charggeof the day-to-day running of the institution, from overseeing servants topurchasing goods. Bol painted them seated at a table set before a plain black wall. Thier identies are known from the family arms in the chimneypiece, above which the painting hung.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

May 21, 2016

Only A Lucky Few Gain Entry To The Real Collection Here…

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The next room I find myself in whilst visiting Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum is a small section of  a stunning library.

This is yet another occasion where my lens could just not zoom far enough for me to get decent pictures of the decorations on the side walls.

The area open to the public is a sort of small mezzanine floor at one end of the library, there is a  good view of the library above and below, well, there would have been if there had been more space and it had not been so crowded with a near constant stream of visitors.

I managed some photographs during gaps in the throngs, but I aim to one day return on a quieter day, with a better lens and a tripod.

Visitors share the area available with a long slim cabinet that contains a magnificent coin collection, but photographs were difficult there too, simply because the display was not at a very convenient height for wheelchair users. The space was too limited and the crowd too many for me to park the chair anywhere handy and use the crutches so that I could get photographs in anything like a standing position so it was simply a matter of making the best of the situation.

The library, like the rest of the building has richly decorated walls and ceiling and I can only begin to imagine what sort of books and documents might be housed here. Sadly getting up close and personal with the literary collection is not possible for the general public… I imagine there are some gems in here for the lucky few who do get entry into the area that we can only gaze at from afar.

 (photograph © Kiwidutch)

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 Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

May 20, 2016

A Whole New Meaning To Table-Top Creativity…

Before I leave the “Dutch Painters in Italy” gallery, a table caught my eye and captivated my attention. The detail is amazing, exquisite, refined, delicate and stunningly beautiful. Enough of works, I should let the photographs do all the talking…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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May 19, 2016

Italy Hosts The Dutch With Apparently Mixed Results…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The next gallery that I find myself in at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum is called “Dutch painters in Italy”.

There is an information panel that tells me:
“Italy! Already at the beginning of the 16th century Italy held a magnetic appeal for northern European artists.

The art of antiquity was their inspiration, so what better place to study it?

A century later, in the early 17th century, Dutch painters were drawn to Rome for the a different reason. They were captivated by its picturesque street life and sun-drenched landscape.

Their classically trained colleagues looked down on them because they did not paint gods and saints, merely ordinary people engaged in everyday activities.

In 1623 these Dutch artists founded a kind of artists’ fraternity called the “Bentvueghels” (birds of a feather). this society, intended as a social network for the “migratory birds” travelling to and from the north, often rebelled against Rome’s artistic establishment. The paintings that the “Bentveughels” made on their return to the Netherlands presented Italy as a land where life was blissfully simple, bathed in warm and sunny light. Their work influenced other artists for a long time to come”.

Here are a few of the paintings in this gallery…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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A landscape with workers… plus a few close-ups of the detail…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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This next one isn’t exactly a landscape or something showing the peasant class… but it is perhaps a sort of indication that there is still so much to see…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

May 18, 2016

The Battle Of Life And Death In The Naval Room…

Before I leave the Naval Room I want to take a look at a small sample of the paintings and exhibits here…

The Battle of Livorno (Leghorn)” Ink on canvas circa 1659 by Willem van Velde I (1611-1693)
In 1653 the English ship the “Samson” went up in flames off the coast of Italy after an encounter with Cornelis Tromp’s warship the “Halve Maan” (Half Moon). Van de Velde represented both vessels at the centre of this pen painting. Tromp commissioned this picture to honour and glorify himself. The work is still in it’s original frame with the Tromp family coat of arms.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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The Battle of Terheide” Oil on canvas, 1653-1666 by Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraten (1622-1666).
Between 1652 and 1674, three naval wars were fought with England, the so-called Anglo-Dutch wars. This painting represents the Battle of  Terheide on 10 August 1653. In the centre is the largest vessel in the Dutch fleet, the “Brederode” commanded by Admiral Maertn Harpertsz Tromp. It is firing its cannons at an English ship.The Dutch Republic won the battle but lost its commander Tromp, who was fatally wounded.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Two Carved Martial Trophies” wood circa 1665, The Netherlands.
These martial trophies represent the weaponry of a cavalryman and an infantryman in the Dutch army. They adorned the sides of Ferdinands Bol’s painting “Aeneas at the Court of Latinus” which hung above the hearth in the assembly room of the Admiralty of Amsterdam. The painting is also on display in this gallery. The Admiralty was responsible for the fleet.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Portrait of Michiel de Ruyter” terracotta with beige coating 1677-1681 by Rombout Verhulst (1624-1698).
Rombout Verhulst modelled this portrait in clay while he was designing Michiel de Ruyter’s large tomb monument for the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. The sculptor thoroughly studied painted portraits of the admiral for this commission. Verhulst kept this modello in his own possession until his death.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Model for the Tomb of Maerten Harpertsz Tromp” terracotta, oak, 1654 by  Rombout Verhulst (1624-1698).
In his design for the tomb of Maerten Harpertsz Tromp, Rombout Verhulst chose to represent the naval hero wearing his armour, his head resting on a cannon, with the medal he was once awarded in one hand, his commander’s baton in the other. The admiral was killed on 3 August 1653 off the coast of South Holland by English cannon ire. His real tomb is made of marble and stands in the Oude Kerk in Delft.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Memorial Portrait of Moses ter Borch” Oil on canvas 1667-1669 by Gerard ter Borch (1617-1681) and Gesina ter Borch (1633-1690).
The two painters produced this portrait to commemorate their youngest brother, Moses, who was born in 1645. Moses dies in 1667 during the storming of Fort Languard near Felixstowe in England. He had served in the Dutch navy against the English since 1664. In the painting Moses is surrounded by symbols that allude to his military life: time (the pocket watch), death (the skull), eternity (the ivy on the rocks) and loyalty (the dogs).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Portrait of Baron Willem Joseph van Ghent” terracotta with beige coating, 1672-1676 by Rombout Verhulst (1624-1698).
Lieutenant-Admiral Willem van Ghent was fatally wounded by the English fire during the Battle of Solebay on 7 June 1672. He was 46 years old. The outcome of the battle against a joint English and French fleet was indecisive. Van Ghent was buried in the Domkerk in Utrecht. This death mask is a study for his tomb, which Rombout Verhulst completed in 1676.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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May 17, 2016

Charting The Heavens And The Earth…

Filed under: AMSTERDAM,Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum,ART,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The first thing that most visitors see as soon as they enter the gallery with exhibits concerning Naval Power is a very large model of a sailing ship.

In fact it is so imposing that I noticed that many visitors did exactly what I did: they passed other exhibits by to go straight to it and only afterwards did they start to look around that other things.

I saw that several visitors seemed to totally miss the stunning stern carving over the door, so when they paused by my wheelchair at some of the other exhibits I made sure to casually mention that it was there.

The look on their faces and the widening of their eyes when they saw it meant that clearly they were as impressed as I was.

One lady even came back later when I was further down the room and said Thank You, she had completely missed it earlier but now that she had read the information that went with it, she was even more impressed. I have to say that her kind words made my day.

Another information panel in the room reads:
“The Dutch Republic owed it’s prosperity to the sea, to it’s merchant fleet and fishing. Conflicts with rival powers were also fought at sea. The Admiralties of Holland, Zeeland and Friesland mustered the navy, often hiring and arming merchant ships in times of war to take their naval forces to maximum strength.

It was only after a ruinous war with England (1652-1654) the Republic built up a professional navy which repeatedly went into action, with great success. The navy’s main task was defensive: protecting the merchant fleet, engaging in combat to secure free trading routes to Asia and the Baltic  Sea and preventing invasions.

Under the command of admirals such as Cornelis Tromp and Michiel de Ruyter, great naval battles were waged with the English, French and Swedish fleets. Their victories made them national heroes and provided marine painters with a rich source of inspiration.”
At the end of this room there are two large globes, I didn’t find any information panels but if everything else in this room is from the 1600’s then it stands to reason that these are too.

There are no markings for Australia that I could find (New Zealand was discovered later so it was no surprise that I couldn’t find that either)On one of the globes there are a lot of celestial images, the twins, crab etc so I’m assuming it is an astronomical globe that charts the stars. The reflections from the lighting in the room made getting details here hard but these globes are well worth more time and a closer look.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

May 16, 2016

Does My Butt Look Big In This? This Rear End Is Delicious…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I will come back to a few bits and pieces in the first gallery later, but first I wanted to show you something that made my heart skip a beat.

My friends and I walked through a doorway and found a room full of stunning exhibits, we split up and started reading some of the information boards that went with each piece depending on what first caught our eye.

Once I had read through this one I went to find my friends to make certain that they didn’t miss this.

Amazingly this massive piece of ornate carving used to adorn the stern of a ship from the 1600’s, it has seen thousands of kilometres slip away underneath it, the spray of countless waves has rested on these boards, and all of this precious detail has been lashed by numerous storms.

The information board reads: “Stern carving from the Royal Charles” polychromed wood, circa 1660, England. This coat of arms of King Charles II of England once adorned the stern transom, or “counter”, of the English flagship the “Royal Charles”. The vessel was captured by Dutch forces in 1667 at it’s home port of Chatham, near London and towed over the North Sea to the Netherlands, where it was scrapped. The counter decoration was preserved to commemorate this extraordinary Dutch triumph and England’s defeat.”

I always thought that the rear end of a sailing ship from this time probably had  painted ornamentation rather than carved ones, and I never could have dreamed that if there had been carved decoration that it would be anywhere near as stunningly detailed as this.

Both my friends had managed to enter the room without looking up or behind them, so my excited discovered was met with amazed surprise, they too staring in disbelief at the colossal scale of this carving and the amount of  detail contained within in it.  Mind you with a butt this beautiful who cares it if looks big…Yet again I discover a new item to add to my Arty favourites list… to say that Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum is full of treasures is one of the understatements of the year…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

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