Monday, 7 April 2014

Museum Weekend in Nederland

I am steadily becoming more and more impressed by the Netherlands' national days/weekends/weeks of art, culture, and literature. Not only do the Dutch embrace life with fervour (or so it seems to me), the nation regularly turns out to experience and savour the finer aspects. Fantastic! This past weekend was "Museum Weekend" across the whole of the Netherlands. For an Euro or two you could visit a participating museum (of which there were hundreds). I heard about it through social media and immediately decided to visit my local Groninger Museum.

Normally, the adult ticket price for the Groninger Museum is 13 Euros (outrageous, in my humble opinion...), so you can imagine I was chuffed to be getting around that. The museum building is a work of art in itself (if you like modern architecture [which I don't] and that sort of thing). I think it is a multicoloured monstrosity, but there we are.

The Groninger Museum
Inside, we began in the temporary exhibitions. To get there you must walk along a corridor at water level. Quite odd to see the canal at eye level. One of the temporary exhibits was a collection of paintings by Marilyn Manson, which were suitably creepy. There was also an exhibit titled "The Club" which was (according to the plaque) attempting to represent the ideal of a gentleman's club. The light fixtures were shaped as breasts, so honestly I think it was just the artist having a laugh. But then again, I don't "get" modern art.

I gladly escaped to the Groningen history time line. They had a bit of the undercarriage of a Canadian tank from WWII which was fairly interesting, coins, an old bit of wood, a beautiful lace picture, and a clever recreation of the city from clothes. (See photo) clothes!

We saved the best for last, however. The thing I like about Dutch museums (certainly not the entry fees) is that they always have a good smattering of the Dutch Masters. These are men like Johannes Vermeer, Jan van Goyen, Rembrandt; I adore them. I like even more however, one chap called Aelbert Cuyp, (the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge has a lovely collection of his work), because in nearly every painting he has managed to include a cow!

The Dutch Masters also are awfully good at seascapes, which are paintings I could stare at for hours. So, in the Groninger museum, I raced through the Portrait gallery and found myself in front of some lovely van Goyens, drawings by Cuyp, and some others I'd not heard of before.

1 Euro - Museum Weekend
In this section of the museum, each room has a saying that sort of gives the theme of the room. They are hung from the ceiling. The exhibition's overall theme is "Natural Beauty". It's quite pleasantly done, actually. They have one lovely Paul C├ęzanne - his paintings always make me feel warm because they are usually of villas and shining seas. There were also two Monets that I hadn't seen before, so I was in seventh heaven.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning! (I still wouldn't happily pay 13 Euros for it though...). Three cheers for Museum Weekend!