Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Hermitage Amsterdam

The Union of Earth and Water (Scheldt and Antwerp)
by Peter Paul Rubens and Frans Snyders c. 1618-1621

Amsterdam is home to some of the best museums in the world - the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk to name a few. And now it has the Hermitage Amsterdam! I was lucky to view the Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens, Flemish Painters from the Hermitage exhibition which has been extended to June 15, 2012. The exhibition includes 75 paintings and 20 drawings from the Antwerp School of Painting. Many of these oeuvres d'art came from the collection of Catherine the Great.

The museum is in a former home for the elderly. It originally housed women who were at least 50 years of age when it opened in 1681. Elderly men were welcomed in the 1800's when a new wing was added for them. The home became known as Amstelhof. At the close of the 20th century it was decided that rather than rebuild and update the home, it was better to move its residents to more comfortable and modern facilities. Work began in 2007 to convert Amstelhof to a museum. In 2009 the Hermitage Amsterdam was completed. But there's a little bit of the Amstelhof that remains. The architects kept the old kitchen in the cellar. It gives a glimpse of how the meals were prepared in the old days for the 350 or more residents who lived here. Notice the steps where the cooks would stand to stir the ingredients in the gigantic cauldrons.

The former kitchen of the Amstelhof

Impressionism, Sensation and Inspiration follows the Rubens exhibit.  It begins on June 16, 2012 and goes through January 13, 2013. The Hermitage Amsterdam on Amstel 51 is a short walk from the Amsterdam Music Theatre.  For more information about the museum, check out this link: http://www.hermitage.nl/en/

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Images by Charie

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