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Posts tagged ‘Netherlands’

Windmills: Then and Now

Last March we did a lot of driving through the Netherlands, Belgium and Northern France.  Looking forward to the stereotypical windmills and tulip fields, I kept an eye on the landscape.  Things were decidedly more modern than I expected.

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Hieronymus Bosch: Morality and Monsters

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art history-focused travel blogs with a post around a common theme.  This month we are discussing artists you should look for on your travels.  Below are links to all the group’s posts this month.

self-portrait of Hieronymus Bosch in "The Garden of Earthly Delights"

Hidden face believed to be a self-portrait of Hieronymus Bosch in “The Garden of Earthly Delights” (Museo del Prado, Madrid)

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Dutch Interiors Spaces

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

Rembrandt, “De Staalmeesters (The Sampling Officials)” 1662, Rijksmuseum Museum, Amsterdam

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ArtSmart Roundtable – Medieval Europe at the Cloisters, New York City

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art history-focused travel blogs with a post on a common theme.  For March we are discussing Art Worth Traveling For.  You can find links below to all the group’s amazing destinations this month.  We also want to welcome the Roundtable’s newest member, Murissa from The Wanderfull Traveler!

I love medieval art and architecture.  In the back of my mind, I have the perfect medieval art itinerary planned: starting among the great Cathedrals of France, I move south through the Pyrenees into Spain and enjoy all the pilgrimage churches along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.  Someday I’ll do all of this!  But in the meantime, for an infusion of Medieval art without leaving the US, I have to recommend a visit to the hauntingly beautiful Cloisters Museum in New York City.  Going far beyond the normal concept of a museum, the Cloisters recreates the atmosphere of a medieval monastery by literally transporting parts from Europe and reconstructing them in Northern Manhattan.

Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, Cloisters, New York City

The Cloister from Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, (ca. 1130–40) as can be viewed at the Cloisters Museum in New York City. This structure is Catalan in style but is from present day France. (Photo: The Cloisters Collection)

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ArtSmart Roundtable – Images of Mary Magdalene

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art history-focused travel blogs with a post on a common theme.  For February we are discussing the iconography of a few historical, religious or mythical figures to help you “read” some of the images you may encounter on the road.  I’ve always thought that understanding the context and source material for imagery really deepens your appreciation for art.  You can find links below to all the group’s articles this month.

Flanders Book of Hours Illuminated Manuscript - St Lawrence

The martyr St. Lawrence was “grilled” to death and is usually seen with a metal cooking rack. Book of Hours, 1510, Flanders, Syracuse University Special Collections.

I love seeing Saints in European art because it is so easy to tell who everyone is.  There is a characteristic object or dress to each figure that helps you decipher his or her identity.  I’ve always been partial to John the Baptist with his wild man appearance and camel hair attire.  But what about the saints with less straight-forward stories?  Theological and historical confusion has long shrouded St. Mary Magdalene; consequently, she has a complex visual iconography.

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