If there’s one thing I’ve learned about genre paintings of the Dutch masters, it’s the importance of the domestic interior. In some of these paintings you see individuals, families, and colleagues carrying on their daily business with a quiet diligence. I am always impressed by the clean and orderly world these characters occupy. Nothing is ostentatious, nor it is boring. Judging from the open windows throughout Amsterdam, the modern Dutch have maintained their historic skill at creating peaceful interior design.
Here are just some of the modern and recreated examples of Dutch interiors I found in Amsterdam along with their art historical counterparts.
Rembrandt, “De Staalmeesters (The Sampling Officials)” 1662, Rijksmuseum Museum, Amsterdam
It wasn’t until I visited Greece a few years ago that I really got a good look at live olive trees. Despite being an agricultural powerhouse, the trunk of the olive tree is twisted and deeply etched. The foliage is expansive but not dense. In the shade, the bark and leaves appear to have grey-blue undertones. These are visually interesting, complex and very hardy looking trees. With a new found appreciation for these Mediterranean wonders, a huge light-bulb went off at the (abridged) Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The olive tree was possibly the best subject in the natural world for Vincent van Gogh and has resulted in some of my new favorite paintings in this catalog.
The end of March in Europe this year didn’t quite feel like Spring, even though all the flowers of the Netherlands were trying to bloom! On my way into the Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam to see the condensed and temporarily relocated highlights of the Van Gogh Museum (I’ll take what I can get), it started snowing. As I rushed inside, I noticed that the courtyard was filled with lovely purple crocuses. For their sake, the snow was luckily not sticking.
So in honor of this week’s #FriFotos theme “Blooms”, here are those early flowers doing their best to kick-off Spring!