Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My laundry just came back so the odour alert is over. This hotel is pretty good, and, despite being in an expensive neighbourhood, is pretty cheap. Queing for galleries can be pretty crazy here (though nothing so horrible as my 6 hour wait for the Uffizi, I'll wager), so I was pretty happy when the hotel offered to sell me a ticket for the Rijksmuseum here rather than queue up. It got me right in without any hassle.

The Rijksmuseum is Amsterdam's main gallery and, of necessity, is a disappointment. The problem is not what's in it, but what's not; everything! The museum is being renovated and when completed will be huge, rivalling the Louvre. Unfortunately that won't be until 2008. In the meantime a selection of masterpieces (Hals, Vermeer and Rembrandt mostly) is being displayed in the Philips Wing, a much smaller venue. Don't get me wrong, it's worth seeing, but it's more like an appetiser than anything substantial and you just know you're missing the main course.

So yeah, yeah, Rembrandt's a genius, but funnily enough, he is. He seems to have mastered everything (a selection of his drawings is excellent) and at times he reminded me of Tintoretto with the broad brushstrokes etc.. In general though what struck me about the whole exhibition was the modernity of some of the pieces, principally those of Vermeer. He was a real genius! One piece, Vermeer's only street scene looks like it could have been done by Edward Hopper, while "Girl reading a Letter at an Open Window" is so delicately lit as to be sublime. His most celebrated picture on display, kind of like his "The Night Watch" (the Rembrandt everyone seemed to want to see; I preferred his other work, especially "The Jewish Bride" with the paint so thick it's almost 3-D), was "The Milk Maid". Now that was worthy of celebration. Vermeer rules (and there's one in the National Gallery of Ireland).

For lunch I had a croque madame, that is a croque monsieur with a fried egg on top. Not bad.

After lunch I went for a walk in the Vondel Park (ah, the old walk in the park after lunch). Really nice place and on my ramble I came across the Film Museum. They're running a De Niro retrospective and "Taxi Driver" is on tonight. There was an exhibition showing posters from all his movies which I browsed around. Funnily enough another of his movies, one that they didn't have a poster for and that they are not showing, but which is one of my favourites, "Brazil", is also on at the same time as "Taxi Driver" in another cinema. Might try to get along to that. De Niro really has gone downhill. Despite one or two exceptions, I think it all started with "Guilty by Suspicion".

I'm going to try the Van Gogh Museum in a little while.


At 3:56 pm, Blogger dingdong said...


Hows tricks, make sure you have a fondle in vondle ;)

Roll on the beer fest


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