Jasper loves wonderful old art museums — the musty, dusty kind with labyrinthine corridors you can easily lose your way in. He sees no need for all the schmancy renovations museums seem prone to these days — especially not when the gallery spaces are CLOSED FOR YEARs during refurbishment as Amsterdam’s Rijkmuseum has been the last two times we were in the city. Having missed seeing Rembrandt’s “Nightwatch” for more than 12 years, this time we threw caution to the wind and shelled out the cash to see a mere single — yet newly renovated — wing of the monstrous museum, said to contain the larger institution’s “treasures.” Most of what we met was expected – the Dutch Master Superstars like Vermeer, Hals, and Rembrandt – but we didn’t expect to see Andy Warhol’s portrait of the Netherlands’ Queen Beatrix as soon as we walked in a lower gallery.
Another surprise was this fabulous Grandfather Clock by Maarten Bas, a Dutch artist who designed this clock with a constant 12 hour film inside depicting a person changing the minute and hour hands on what appears to be a dry erase marker board every minute for 12 hours.
The Rembrandts, of course, are mesmerizing. Here is the Nightwatch, which has been cleaned and restored since we last saw it, and now we know that the scene was actually set in daylight and, interestingly enough, it is now lit with LED bulbs.
Here is one of of Rembrandt’s self portraits — he has lots, you know, depicting him as a scruffy young man with a face full of trust and honesty.