Local Heart, Global Soul

May 3, 2016

Stained Glass That Illuminates The Arts And Trades…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I am visiting the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam with two friends.

Since we arrived at opening time on a Sunday we decided that it would be a wise idea to go and see the “Nightwatch” straight away before the bus tours and crowds rolled in and made viewing difficult.

We head towards the wing where the painting is and come to two stunning stained glass windows.

I take photographs,  but being at wheelchair height has distinct disadvantages.

My friends are keen to enjoy the views around us but also eager to see the “Night watch”.

The window has a theme of the Arts, and also some of the trades with some of the panels are labelled “werktuigkundige” (a mechanic / technician holding a large cog in one hand and a compass in the other.) , “visscher” (a fisherman holding two large fish in one hand and a net and pole in the other), and “boer” (a farmer holding  a sheaf of wheat in one hand and a spade in the other).

There are also panels depicting men holding artists equipment and the names of Dutch painters:  “Lucas van Leyden” (1494 – 1533,  skilled in the arts of woodcut, etching, engravings, draughtsmanship and painting.

“Willem van Heerle” (15th century engraver and painter), “Apelles.” (4th century BC,  a renowned painter of ancient Greece) and “Rembrandt” (Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn , 1606 -1669,  painter, etcher and draftsman).

Above each of the painters are panels depicting the making of stained glass, painting at an easel, fresco paining and illuminating manuscripts.

There are lovely flower and grape with grape vines frames around the large panels, the sides and the naming panels at the bottom, I get a few close up photographs of those at least.

Even if I were able to stand up, these windows could not be done justice without me bringing a far better zoom lens and a tripod.

This is yet another thing on my “to-do” list, there is detail here yet to be seen, I aim to find it one day in the future.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

August 29, 2015

The Last Glimmers Of Light…

There were too many photographs to fit into yesterdays  post so today’s post is a continuation of it and the very last of the stained glass windows here. Actually there were more, but the windows were further away and I thought that the resulting photographs were not worth posting, the detail mostly lost because my zoom lens was not sufficiently powerful to capture them at their best. The lack of photo quality was definitely the fault of my camera  rather than the windows… My apologies if you are sick of the sight of stained glass, this is the last post about glass for a while I promise!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

August 28, 2015

Raising My Eyes To The Stained Glass Again…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m finishing my tour of the Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maastricht.

As my regular readers will know, I love stained glass, so a Basilica full of the stuff is like an intoxicating drug.

There are roundels of celtic-like interwoven floral designs, heraldic shields and crests, stunning black glass painted background motifs that connect the larger coloured pieces and large stand out central panels which are round or semicircular in most cases, surrounded by detailed backgrounds.

I do laugh though, both of the heraldic lions that stand either side of a shield have remarkably human faces, probably because in all likelyhood the glass artist had never seen a lion in real life so made do as best he could.

There is also real artistry in the intricate painted letters on the glass, the charactors are more uniform than I would have imagined possible. If you contrast this to the lettering in the coat of arms panel with crowned lions and a large crown right next to it, which I think is supposed to have some sort of royal connection, since the “je maintaineri “ (“I shall maintain”) motto which is still on the Dutch royal family coat of arms appears almost clumsy by comparison.

Of course it was usual for there to be a whole team of glass artists working on a single window at one time so probably these lettering examples were made by different people.

If you are wondering why the words are written in French rather than in Dutch is it probably because French was the official language of The Netherlands for some three hundred years when France ruled over a considerably larger land area than it does today.

In the bottom of one of the figure panels where two (priests ?) are kneeling, a little read book lays in the green grass, the book is tiny in the figure photograph but I managed to get a detailed close up of it at the top of the panels in the second from bottom row of glass in the big window. Even such a tiny book has detail on the clasp, and it’s this possibility to look at a window like this a hundred times and discover something new each time that so fascinates me.

Lastly there are some very modern windows, I personally like them a bit less than the more traditional glass, but fully appreciate the amount of work and skill needed to make them. They have very dramatic colour and movement that isn’t really possible in the old style and are beautiful in their own way.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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st Servatius stained glass 2 (Small)

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 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

August 18, 2015

Seriously, I NEED A Twelve Step Programme…

Someone needs to lock me up because I’ve become captivated by stained glass. Is there a Stained Glass Anonymous  that anyone knows of?  A twelve step programme I could apply? Who needs drugs when you can get high on the sheer enjoyment of pattern, light, form, composition, colour and detail in stained glass windows like these?I’m still inside the Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maastricht, situated in the southern Dutch province of Limburg and decided to follow yesterday’s stained glass post with another one. Yet again the detail amazes me…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

August 17, 2015

Gleaming Glass, Not Medieval But Beyond Doubt Gorgeous…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another post from the stunning Basilica of Saint Servatius located in Maastricht, and yet again I’m back to the stained glass windows.

This is a church that has almost all Victorian made stained glass windows, rather than far older medieval ones.

Actually I don’t mind at all because the Victorian era artists, designers and the craftsmen behind the mass production of  large church windows at the time were all highly skilled and in my eyes, exceptionally gifted when it came to combining colour, composition and detail in their windows.

There is of course more than one specialist trade when it comes to the physical making these windows: primarily there are the actual makers of stained glass who fit the various pieces together to make the whole but there are also glass painters, who paint the amazing detail  of flora, fauna, figures onto tiny pieces of glass.

I’ve had an interest in learning to paint on glass for a while now, but exceptionally low concentration due to medication has been frustrating and  has put me off drawing almost all together. Also,  I have never seen a class for just the painting on glass instead of actually producing a finished stained glass product.One of the beauties of Victorian stained glass is the amount of detail given not just to the main figures in the story being told but also in the borders and “frames” that surround each story panel. (sigh) Never mind me, I’m drooling again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

August 16, 2015

Zooming In And Finding More And More And More…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Several years ago Family Kiwidutch visited the city of Maastricht and we managed to blend sight-seeing with relaxing. On one occasion though, I knew that Himself and the kids were not going to enjoy the place where I most wanted to go, so I let them loose in the centre of the city with a shopping list and had them drop me off and pick me up at the Basilica of Saint Servatius. Their outing involved ice-cream so they were happy, mine might not have involved any food or drink other than the bottle of water I had with me, but I had an excellent time too. Regular readers will know that I’m a detail fanatic and I love nothing more than hand worked detail in wood, stone, iron or glass. Today’s post is all about zooming in and finding the detail, starting with wrought iron, carved bits and pieces and a tiny amount of glass and in fact there was so much around me I barely knew where to start. There were stairs leading down to a sort of crypt, I decided that it was too much for me on crutches so contented myself with looking at it from through the decorative ironwork on the main floor of the church…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

August 12, 2015

Gleaming Glass Captures My Eye…

On a visit to Maastricht a few years ago I left Himself and the children to their own devices (which meant shopping and ice-cream) whilst I enjoyed a visit to the Basilica of Saint Servatius. Although the building looks rather empty of decoration at first glance, a closer inspection reveals masterpieces in almost every surface, in wood, paint, plaster, stone and glass. The building is deceptively large so even some of the biggest features like large statues look small. My attention is drawn back to the stained glass windows… so much to see…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

August 7, 2015

Stained Glass…Oh Be Still My Beating Heart…

Today’s post is a looong photographic one (sorry) .. no, actually I’m not sorry, there was so much detail, I wanted it all and couldn’t choose… these are from three windows… come on, I dare you not to drool…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

July 31, 2015

The Sign Says “Treasure Room”… Who Wouldn’t Want To Go Inside…?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A few years ago whilst visiting Maastricht, I left the rest of the family to enjoy shopping and ice cream in the centre of the city and gave myself a peaceful visit to the Basilica of Saint Servatius on the edge of the town centre.

I  missed coming into the main church area because I first discovered a very unexpected courtyard and now, all of a sudden, I see a sign that says “schatkamer” … which translates into English as “treasure room”!

Now, who would’t want to investigate a treasure room? I certainly do and even just a few steps inside, I find a room filled with glass, gold, silver and gems in breathtaking examples of the gold, silver smiths and stained glass artists skills.

The room is naturally heavily fortified but even the iron doors are fascinating and beautiful in their own right.

My attention is first drawn to the stained glass work, all of it bursting with detail. The round piece has a decorative centre and is also surrounded by five sections that contain scrolls and floral detail as well. I can’t read the text in the scrolls but it’s a detail fanatics dream. I do have to admit however that the photographs don’t do this justice, in reality this piece absolutely glows and is mesmerising…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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The motif on the lock on the door is significant… more on that soon…

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 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

 

 

 

 

June 28, 2015

The Best Laid Plans of Mice And Men …Change When Necessary…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back in August 2013, Family Kiwidutch started their Maastricht holiday in the Amrath Grand Hotel de l’ Empereur Maastricht.

We tried to make the most of our time by starting out a day earlier than our holiday home booking.

That’s the reason for our one night stay right in the city, and I planned it that way because I’d heard that the city of Maastricht is beautiful so some extra time to look around was something I was looking forward to.

We unpacked a few things in our rooms and then I was keen to go outside while the light was still good and get some photographs.

My plan was completely undone by a small rebellion by my children who showed a massive disinterest in going sightseeing,  pleaded excess hunger and tiredness in their efforts to dissuade me.

Himself also eventually admitted that he was fine with both options, which I know him well enough to know that that actually means: “If you didn’t want to go out sightseeing that would be fine with me“.  It was then clear that dragging around two unwilling and one non committable family member around the city probably wasn’t a great idea, so I conceded and asked if we could have a change of plan.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We agreed together that that night would be dinner and an early night and that tomorrow would an early start and a good look around the city before we headed out to the holiday park.

The easiest option for dinner was the hotel restaurant downstairs so we went down and asked if there were possibilities or dining at short notice and luckily there was.

Kiwi Daughter ordered “Bitter Ballen” which is where meat is boiled with various spices until soft, then shredded into small pieces.

It’s then combined with a very stiff roux (white) sauce and chilled.

Then it’s rolled into balls, dipped into egg white, then bread crumbs twice, deep fried and served with mustard.

It’s a very popular Dutch snack found in almost every bar and café. Little Mr. opted for his old standby: plain boiled pasta with grated cheese on top. Himself and I  saw that Spare Ribs are on the menu and we both had the same idea, if we weren’t going anywhere else tonight then a leisurely meal was a very pleasing prospect. We both had ribs and shared a salad and fries. There are some interesting windows and artworks in the dining room, most obviously  the stained glass windows grabbed my attention whilst I waited for our meals to arrive. The windows have an older style and I think that the theme was “the seasons”.

Also Little Mr hadn’t been joking about being tired, he finished three quarters of his pasta and then rolled up into a ball on his seat and proceeded to fall asleep.Himself and I were not completely full by the end of our meal but thought that it better to carry an uncomfortable sleeping son and a fast tiring daughter back to their room and get them into their beds rather than have desert.  Kiwi Daughter managed to walk sleepily up to the room but Little Mr. never even woke as Himself carried him up, I took off his shoes, socks and trousers and we tucked him into bed. Tooth brushing for the kid had to wait until the following morning when he got a supervised double dose. The lesson is to know our limits and to know that “Tomorrow is another day”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Amrath Grand Hotel de l’ Empereur Maastricht

 

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