Today I meandered to Haarlem to visit the Frans Hals Museum, which houses so many of this artist’s works. There was a painting which I had never before seen, attributed to Hals, named ‘the Innkeeper’, which sparked my imagination. So much has been said about painters such as Hals, while simultaneously, so much has happened since such words were printed. There’s still so much yet to be said, about Mr. Hals. While at the museum I searched for a painting which I did not find; it’s within the museum’s depot. Which means that there will be many more visits to this most special of places in Haarlem–when I walk through it’s doors, I follow in the footsteps of Courbet, Cassatt, John Singer Saregent, and Thoré-Bürger, and Manet. Hals is also the subject of my thesis; his life and his work delight my senses, as I continue my research around and on the life and work of this most sprezzatura skilled of painters...
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
This street I walked along, at least three times a week. This enchanting series of oriel windows I have always taken a liking to; they're delightful. They're so whimsical and unexpected. And so often have I waltzed past them, the sunlight twinkling through the canopy of the mature trees that line the adjacent sidewalk, and thought: if only I had a camera at this moment, ready in hand, to capture this most special of moments, within one of the city's most openly-secluded, and yet charming of streets...
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Frans Hals, The Marriage Portrait of Isaac Massa and Beatrix van der Laen, 1622, 140 cm × 166.5 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
For the past three weeks I have visited this engaging picture, nearly daily. Perhaps five times a week. Only recently have I begun to see it in whole new ways; every minute I spend looking at this canvas, rewards me with visual delight. It's almost overwhelming, how much there actually is to be seen within it, when one takes the time to truly look. And there are actually five people within its garden scene. Five. Who knew? Each time I stand before it, I see something new. That must be one prerequisite for a great painting: its ability to delight the senses endlessly, infinitely.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Monday, February 16, 2015
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Today I went running. I haven't ran too often this past month. I've too consumed with other things. I ran today and it was nice. It wasn't overtly easy, and it wasn't too difficult, either. I ran from my house to the Oostelijk Havengebied (the Eastern Docklands); one of the most magical of places within this city–whimsical bridges specialty made for foot, are abound. This red bridge (and there is another parallel, similar in stature), pedestrian and ever-so-inviting, makes everything about the moment I run over its crest most joyous; my soul lifts in delight as the symphonic sounds of waves on the water's surface also crest, to the left, right, and below me. Thereafter, throughout days I do run over this most wonderous red bridge, those days have difficulty finding signs of sorrow–this bridge make the days that I do run over it, much more fun. Today while running this route–to the red bridges and back–a woman was tending to the plants in front of and alongside of her house. Digging and fumbling and pulling and guessing; as she tended to her tiny urban city sidewalk, as a young runner of 29, dark blonde hair, running tights and all, ran past a furious rate. She wondered, 'Where is that runner going and why is he going so fast?' The man running at a steady pace, past the woman tending to her curbside garden asked to himself, as he passed her, 'What is that woman thinking? And are her thoughts as beautiful as those of Dominique, and if so, perhaps they're just not yet on paper?' The man will never know what, exactly, the woman whom he pasted that Sunday morning while jogging was thinking; perhaps she was considering spring? What the man who ran past her will know, though, is that surely her actions are a sign of spring; as the days lighten, a new side of the city begins emerge...
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Friday, February 13, 2015
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Monday, February 9, 2015
Sunday, February 8, 2015
The first semester of school has ended and what a rush the last five months were. I couldn't have prepared myself better. It worked well; coupled with the mountains of articles and books. My hand had not written so many words, on paper, in so long, that my right hand initially hurt from the note taking, and eventual rewriting. In the beginning, in September, I hadn't realized just how much the act of reading is similar to the act of using a muscle–the more it's used, the more flexible it becomes. I read quite often before, but now I find myself seeking out words to read, always. Little did I remember that academic writing is not the same as other writing, such as that here.
My writing style is changing because of my studies in art history. And at the moment, I'm rather taken by the new methods of qualitative analysis that were pioneered in the field, by those in the Netherlands in the early years of this century. Thank you, Ernst van de Wetering. Now, the sentences I find myself constructing are more methodical, and sometimes they read as if the emotion has been sapped out; though I'm making a genuine effort to keep this voice of mine intact, in academia. I haven't been writing much here, precisely because I have been honing my academic prose–which for art history, is certainly different than the type of writing required for architecture, or design. This much I've learned. It has taken some adjusting, to direct and guide my voice within this new academic framework, and environment, that I find myself reveling at being immersed within. Once I adjusted my lucid writing to the language of art historians, my words began to flow...
In December I wrote my first true academic paper on Dutch art, on the work, life, and legacy of the church and city painter and draftsman, Pieter Janszoon Saenredam. At times it seemed as if my body was not my friend throughout the last two weeks of the writing process, during which I felt like an action painter: lost in thought and deep contemplation, while frantically rummaging through notes, books, and articles, all in an effort to finalize my words. The new semester began this week, and there are again articles to read–though not so many. That's because this time around one of my classes is focussed on Amsterdam, while the other is my self directed thesis project. And just this week my research question on Frans Hals and his paintings, contemporaries, and connoisseurs, was approved...
Which means, that I am able to continue thinking about the life and work of Frans Hals, and those who have studied him before me, for the next six months, in this most intimate of ways. I plan to confront a cluster of his paintings analytically for my thesis, using many others of his own, and those of his contemporaries, as well as their prints, with which to construct it's framework. I'm so excited. I've set up my research in such a way, that it requires me to travel to Spain, the UK, and the USA. It's astonishing to think that one of the most revered painters, by Dutch and Americans, will become one of my areas of specialization, in Dutch art. The path I'm creating for myself within this infinitely enriching world of seventeenth century art, fills my stomach with butterflies. And the future that I'm now creating for myself within art history, feels so right.