Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Height of Summer:

The peak of summer has arrived in Amsterdam. After weeks of endless rain; summer is back. This enlivened weather lead me to wander over and into the gardens of the Rijksmuseum yesterday, and today. Yet today I walked into the museum, unlike yesterday, after voraciously reading a chapter in a book that's currently captivating me; it's about the American raid on Old Master paintings in Europe in the decades before and after the World War One. It's aptly titled Old Masters, New Worlds. And it's fascinating. In anticipation of my first day of academic study of Dutch Art, which is tomorrow, while meandering in the museum I took the time to stop in front of Jan Asselijn's 'The Threatened Swan'. It was the first painting in the Netherlands that I took up an emotional connection with, solely because it's the first painting I stopped in front of, when I first began my obsessive visits to the Rijksmuseum's galleries earlier this year. It just so happens that this oversized painting was also the first of the museum's acquisitions, when it opened its doors in 1800 as the National Art Gallery–the forerunner to the present day Rijksmuseum. In many ways, I see this as a sign.