Note: Many thanks to John who wrote the next three entries because otherwise I would never have caught up.
Yesterday we noticed giant cranes in a construction zone around the Rijksmuseum. Today we found out that it is under massive renovation, to finish in 2013. Nevertheless, the museum had created a good subset of its collection, with an audio guide correlating Dutch history with the various phases of its art.
The Dutch spent most of the late 1500s through the mid-1600s fighting for their independence from Spain and Catholic Europe as a whole, then fighting inexplicably with England for a few years, and finally making nice with the Brits by sending William and Mary over to sit on the English throne. All the while making scads of money through trade.
A nice assortment of Hals, Vermeer and especially Rembrandts. We even love the less famous genre painters such as Steen, de Hooch and others. We we glad to see that three of the four Vermeers were displayed, as well as the Night Watch, but also two of our personal favorites, a Jan Steen which we know as “Teaching the Kitty to Dance”‘ and my personal favorite, Rembrandt’s “Jeremiah and the Destruction of Jerusalem”.
We got there before the crowds and were done by lunchtime.