The hotel in Delft
Here in Delft we’re staying at a little hotel, with an art theme.
It’s a bit quirky – Craig described it as groovy, and it is in a 1960’s hippy chic, or should that be hippy chick, sort of way. There are murals on all the walls, and on the way up the stairs these are of cavorting nudes. For a moment I thought we’d stumbled into the wrong type of establishment – well it is Holland after all!
I sometimes think that because the Dutch produced so many wonderful artists and masterpieces during their Golden Age of the 16th and 17th Centuries, that God said to them “I am going to give other peoples the chance to create great art. From now on you will produce nothing but self indulgent kitsch.”
But it was a bit of fun, and it would have appealed to Jane.
Quite what she would have thought of the chickens in the car park which produced eggs for breakfast I really don’t know.
Gnomes outside the hotel in Delft
We spent the day in Amsterdam.
It’s a bustling vibrant city, brimming with tourists on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Clanking trams, and the constant “bring, bring” of impatient cyclists who always seem to be at your back, no matter where you walk. I love it.
We walked to the Rijksmuseum.
When I was there with Craig and Jane in 2011, it was shrouded in scaffolding whilst it was being renovated. The renovation has now been completed, and the building looks magnificent.
The galleries are so vast that we decided just to concentrate on the Dutch paintings from the period 1500 to 1650.
I never cease to be impressed by the strength of the colours in these paintings, even after hundreds of years.
Some portraits amuse me – the pomposity of the expressions of the merchants, who had the wealth to commission the likes of Rembrandt to paint them with their families. He was no doubt well paid to capture his subjects in their very best light. Compare that to Rembrandt’s self portrait, where he paints a tired old man, no need to flatter his subject on this occasion.
The tourists were swarming round “The Nightwatch” – you couldn’t get near, but it didn’t matter, there was so much else to see.
I wish though that I could see paintings in the way Jane could.
The last time we were here she sat intently just looking.
After she died, one of her lecturers mentioned to me that she had been very influenced by what she had seen at the Rijksmuseum, filling her own paintings with little stories within stories, just as you see in many of the paintings by the Dutch masters. When I heard that, I was so pleased that we had been there. I only wish we could have had the opportunity to come back with Jane. It’s at times like this that I miss her so much, and I struggle to comprehend the futility of what’s happened.
We wandered round some of the streets in Amsterdam, along the sides of the canals. We then drove back to Delft in some of the most torrential rain I’ve ever seen.