Back to the Rijks and began this time in the medieval section. But first, for those who suggest my work is a tad detailed, here’s a large portrait of a Dutch noblewoman, Maria van Strijp, by Johannes Cornelisz. Verspronck,1652. Note the lace cuffs.
Here’s a close-up detail, taken by my iPhone, of those cuffs.
I rest my case. I am positively loose and sloppy compared to the precision of this painter. Another painter’s skill I marveled at – here’s a detail of a Bathsheba painting (Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem, 1594) where skin appears to glow as if lit from within.
How did he achieve this astonishing luminosity? No edges. I’m thinking layers upon layers of glazes and a delicate touch with a brush.
Back to the medieval section, along with paintings that blaze with color and expressive faces, there are many wonderful objects, including this carved ivory head.
It’s the grip of a flintlock pistol.
There’s a tremendous father and son diptych, saints galore and a marvelous carved elk antler, used as a shield, culled from a beast killed a thousand years ago.
As I’m walking through other sections, I notice a room that is pulsing light at intervals. Really ? In the center of a recreation of an 18th century room, on temporary loan to the Rijks, is a glowing sphere with a reflective, geometric pattern on the surface. Light within it glows and dims, and as visitors stand near the surface, it ripples and twitches. The Lotus Dome. by Daan Roosegaarde, is a reactive dome, lit from within and covered with a geometric net of flower shapes. The Mylar petals open and twitch in response to the warmth of a human body, as the LED light glows and dims. Hypnotic. It took a while before I could make myself move on.
Lunch again at the café, then back to the rooms. There’s a great variety here, from an armada of wooden ship models, to walls of locks that resemble lace in the complexity of their designs. Heaps of clothes and jewels and porcelain. It’s more like a Smithsonian museum, a country’s historical attic, than a straight up art museum. One thing that puzzles me is the scarcity of sculpture. Very few works in the Rijks, and many of those in terracotta. It isn’t until my visit to the Rembrandthuis, with the enthralling docents of Context tours, that the penny drops. This city is built on soft, wet ground. Think Venice or NOLA. Hundreds of buried pilings hold up the Royal Palace. There’s no stone here, no marble quarries. Streets are made of brick. That’s why sculpture is lacking.
Another lunch at the museum cafe, More thinking about the particularity and the humanity of the Dutch paintings. I walked back at the end of my day in charity with the world, and after a light supper, fell into bed, exhausted. And all hell broke loose. Two words.
On the other side of the wall of my comfortable room is a baby who has a really bad night. Maybe it’s colic. Maybe the parents believe in letting a baby cry it out. Don’t know. I do know that baby cried without ceasing from 6:45 to 9:30, and wailed again at 11, 1am, 3am and 7am. My earplugs helped, but couldn’t completely erase the plaintive wailing. I thought about going over, knocking on the door, and offering to walk the baby, since I wasn’t going to be sleeping anyway.
Rough night for both of us. I seriously considered moving my bed into the bathroom. If it happens again tonight, I will.