Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Intoxicating World of Menno Kroon:

As I wrote three years ago, tucked away in Amsterdam Oud-Zuid, just south of Museumplein–and at that time just before the Rijksmuseum had reopened; entering Menno Kroon's intoxicating flower shop is an otherworldly experience that instantly transports the senses and soul to another dimension. There again today after nearly three years away (note to self; visit more often), a familiar face greeted me upon arrival, and artfully arranged the flowers that I had requested. While in preparation I idled my time amongst the blooms, vases, candles, and sumptuous scents that filled the shop, and my nose, with a delight that remains with me at this moment. Menno Kroon's shop; a seemingly infinite sensational delight I must more often experience.

Monday, January 18, 2016

On the Streets of Florence:

Walking through the streets of Florence: Beiges, browns, tans, and cremes (which are also, and not surprisingly, the tones of of coffee) define the color palette of this city on the Arno, between Rome and Milan. Even in winter, when the temperatures reach near 10-15C (a Dutch summer, practically), the city still intoxicates with its seemingly endless array of cultural heritage–treasures from the past, that are still present today; they lend to Florence, a sense of continuity: even if when walking through the city's streets the array of buildings, piazzas, and statues remains nameless, they delight the senses as the Italian sunshine streams around corners, on the edges of overhanging eaves, and on the faces of such statues. The Medici, so seminal to this city as they were, found the time to make their mark on it by way of their wealth, which they parlayed into the arts. Nearly everywhere, another church waits, and welcomes; another fresco–half destroyed, half conserved–presents itself; another trattoria or café calls out, encouraging the quick sipping of coffee in its confines–or, even on the street. Formality meets informality in Florence: rules are left unwritten, as in so many cultures, yet rarely do they seem to dictate. Instead, hands gesticulate with speech; commotion is hustled; and even so, simultaneously, a sense of serenity sweeps through the city, ribboning itself throughout ordered, chaotic, rigidly aligned, stone-paved streets. Pontormo, Masaccio, and Ghirlandaio are only a few of the names of whose works were before my eyes; Bronzino, Caravaggio, and Botticelli followed. What I took away, from my time in Florence, while walking through its city streets–is that no matter how distant in time something was made, and no matter how it may deemed by some, the presence of the past in the present, is one of the most reassuring notions to study, appreciate, and thus–contentedly contemplate.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Spanish Masters From the Hermitage:

Opened within the Hermitage in November of 2015, the exhibition ‘Spanish Masters from the Hermitage’, by way of its advertising, promises much more than it delivers. While its neighbor within the museum, ‘The Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age’ delivers like no other, this exhibition leaves much more to be desired than is currently on display within it. Velasquez, it’s made it seem, should be everywhere amongst its walls' ensemble. Not that he is the only Spanish painter of pertinence; though the exhibition’s posters throughout the city lead one to believe that he, and Francisco Goya, are abound. They are not. Their workshops are. Which results in a lovely ensemble of pantings emanating from Spain, and an emptiness in the soul upon exiting the brilliantly red exhibition space. I've concluded it is a temporary filler of an otherwise temporary space; in no way does it compare to its neighboring exhibition.