Saturday, January 28, 2012

Week Thirty Eight and a Half: The Final Amsterdam.

Amsterdam, Part Three: When will she hush up already.

Just be grateful it wasn't a three day weekend in Paris. Then you'd never hear the end of it.

Okay, so we purchase 24 hour Iamsterdam cards to explore the city with the first night, and activated them the second day. If you ever go to Amsterdam, save yourself hundreds of dollars and get these. For 40 Euro, or about $50, you can enter any participating museums for free, or discount rates, and you get a 24 hour tram/boat/bus ticker. This boat is supposed to be the hop on hop off one. This card is well worth the price.

Why? Because bar minimum, you save 25% on tickets the run around 15 Euro on average, if not much more, and are never ever less than 10. Ten euro is basically the super cheap museums. We used these yesterday, but if we got up early enough and hurried then we had enough time for one more free museum before we left. We managed two.

Our targets? The Hermitage Amsterdam and the Rembrandt House. Mission Successful! Loved it!

Okay, so Van Gogh and I don't get along, but when it comes to Baroque Art, I am totally in seventh heave. (Van Gogh's more famous art pieces are modern or semi-classical.) So the Hermitage Amsterdam, a branch of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, was like standing at the Pearly Gates.

It was a large museum, despite being 'only' a branch, and it had a lot of small art 'cabinets' surrounding the man room. These were about the size of a walk in closer. Apparently, due to size constraints, they only do one exhibit at a time.

This time was a Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jordaens exhibit. All three are Flemish master artists who worked closely together. all three are also baroque artists which explains my earlier squealing.

There were several hunting scenes there, many still life paintings with an assortment of dead birds and flowers in them, and lots of religious artworks, mythological artworks, and of course portraits. Aft all, for centuries, religion and portraits were how artists earned their bread and butter.

So I enjoyed it greatly and learned loads about painting and how to! This, as a very amateur hobby artist, gave me great pleasure.

Apparently, a lot of paintings are able to have the artist determined by the sketching style, or at least the main artist. Those life size paintings the 'masters' produced? Often, a lot of it was painted in by the artist's pupils are the master had done the initial painting. Gasp!

That would be some kind of scandal today.

I mentioned that I learned a bit about how to paint? Well, that was due to videos about the artist that were playing. Rubens was known for his ability to make the colors pop. How? He had three layers of paint on all his paintings, and the initial layer was grey, not white. Hm...

They also showed side by side comparisons of a lot of initial sketches. From the sketch, for especially large artworks, a quick oil painting model would be painted, sans a lot of the fine details. This looked like a lot of the oil paintings a friend of mine did in high school. Always knew she was great.

My favorite two paints were a family portrait and one of Aphrodite and Adonis, as Aphrodite begged Adonis not to go on the hunt which would end his life, wee Eros trying to stop the handsome man as well. She had a prophetic dream, you see. I'm sure you can find the myth if you look it up.

My other favorite was a family of six. What stood out to be was how casual it was, the family at ease with each other, the toddler's ribbon leash gently clasped in the mother's hand.

Oh, you thought child leashes were new? Hardly. Ribbons used to sen onto the back of their clothes for the mother to keep their adventurous tot close.

The sheer amount of art there was astounding and mind blowing. However, in comparison to the Rembrandt House, it was positively empty. Yet the Hermitage held much more.

The difference was in the organization. Rembrandt's house was organized how it had been in his life, based on inventory and sketches. As Rembrandt sold his art from his canal side home, the art was everywhere. I was very overwhelmed by it all, but as a result, more unimpressed than anything else. Too much good art at once makes it all look bad. This house was, of course, our next spot.

Once out of his show areas, I grew much more impressed. The museum had a wealth of his sketches and engravings. While he may be known now for his painting, he also sketched and engraved expertly. In fact, he was known them more for his engravings, which show a seriously frightening attention to detail.

I almost want to try engraving myself after seeing some of his work, though I don't think my hands are near steady enough.

After this, we planed on going to an art exhibit of Jewish artifacts and history, but our Iamsterdam cards hard run out and ticker were, well, I like to say prohibitively expensive, but you might say $42 a pop.

Ha. No.

You are not the Louvre. You are an old church, with Jewish things inside. I'm not paying that much to learn about what I can read in my bible and a history book. Like I said though. the Iamsterdam card is worth it, if only because otherwise museum tickets are scary expensive.

We finished off our time in Amsterdam at an Irish pub. I had the tuna panini, and if it isn't obvious, I'm a tuna fan. I absolutely adored the atmosphere. It had a bar, but it wasn't a bar, if you know what I mean.

Okay, so a few things my flow of thought just did not leave room for: bike garages, witty graffiti, color changing buildings, and Wall Street in the Red Light district.

No joke, there was a three story garage that held about 400 bikes per level and there still isn't enough bike parking in Amsterdam! One clever individual 'parked' his bike with two bike locks on the, ah, water side of the bridge's railing. Well, at least no one will steal his parking space?

Also, if it wasn't just a name or initials in chrome, much of the graffiti consisted of witty statement in English. Less artistic than German graffiti, but less prolific over all as well. Smaller too in general. Most I saw was just about size 60 font. Maybe I jsut didn't see the good graffiti? Either way, the stuff in France is the most artistic so far.

We did walk through the Red Light district to get to our tram. I didn't see the big fuss. The ladies of the night were behind glass, clothes in bikinis and with the most bored looks on their face as they wiggled. I can't call it dancing. It'd be an insult to dancing.

No the best part of it all was where Wall Street was. That would be inside the boundaries of the Red Light district. What does this say about Wall Street? I mean, I can think of several things, but I suspect they would be rather rude to say and write.

Just outside the district was Occupy Amsterdam, which I could not get my family to stop at. The stock exchange is in the Red Light district and the protestors are not. That's a commentary on society right there, in some obscure way I'm sure my English professors would be proud of.

Oh yeah, and the color changing building was the World Fashion something or another. Gorgeous at night, but during the day a dull stone building.

On the way back home, we went under a grass animal bridge that I do not know how I missed the first time. This one is bother wider than and more natural than others I've seen, so I think it's much more likely to be used.

As for my loot: five pins (three Rembrandt, one Holland, one Amsterdam), a Van Gogh transforming cube with lots of art on it, a series of post cards from the Anne Frank house showing the book case closed, a deck of cards from the Rijk museum detailing a famous tulip painting.

No photos. I completely forgot my camera, and wouldn't be able to take pictures inside the museums anyway. I might get the photos from my step sister or my dad. Maybe.

One Final Byte: I saw so many things I didn't say.

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