Sorry for the lack of posts this week! It’s crunch time with my school work so I’ve been prioritising. But fear not! I have not forsaken you! We continue with the Tour of the Museums of Amsterdam!
Mum and I decided to visit this one on a whim. We’d seen lots of adverts for it show the “Spaanse Meesters” or Spanish Masters (in english). What a treat it was!
The Hermitage Amsterdam is a satellite museum for the impressive Hermitage Museum located in St. Petersburg, Russia! The Hermitage in Russia is legendary and is on my list of must see places (but perhaps not in the winter? so don’t hold your breath)
LIke most museums, especially the massive ones- the Hermitage simply does not have enough room to display all of its collections. This off-shoot in Amsterdam allows them the cycle through more objects and be seen be more people. Like me and mum!
So, there were no photos allowed in the Spaanse Meesters exhibit but I got this one of the entrance. It was really well done. They even recreated the room in the actual Hermitage where these paintings are usally located. It was spectacular! Also the rooms leading up had amazing floor to ceiling photos of places in Spain (including a photo reproduction of the tiles in the Alhambra).
We were offered free audio-guides with our tour but did not take them. This is hard for me to admit but it was a mistake! A MISTAKE. In the galleries you could tap the guide to the music note to hear period music. DO YOU REALISE HOW AMAZING THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN?
The other exhibit on was about the elite merchant class that ruled Amsterdam with a capitalist fist. In order to balance the vast inequalities in 17th century society the rich maintained their status through philanthropy (not that different today really).
The charitable bodies often had group portraits done of their boards. The exhibit had you track four different real historical figures through these paintings! It was a very cool approach.
A big component was audio-visual and it mostly worked. Every 15 minutes or so the lights would darken in the main room and highlight people in the portraits all around (the four mentioned above of course!)
It was really amazing to see all these grand portraits together alongside a digital version of Rembrandts most famous work- The Night Watch. It really helped me to see how revolutionary his work really was. I liked the conceit of a digital painting as it was the focus of the video presentation.
The historic kitchen! The silhouette is a projection of a ‘former’ cook who was complaining to the other cook about the ugliness of modern Dutch kitchens. It was pretty amusing if not a bit goofy.
I really like the tiles all around. I even saw the exact same ones in the Museum Van Loon!
Before the Hermitage Amsterdam was a museum, it was a home to elderly single women (hence the need for the kitchen). This room was the place where Elite members of Dutch society ran the place.
It was a pretty cool place!
Pros: Lovely building, cool history, working with a fantastic collection, interesting and dynamic displays, smart use of a/v displays, good text panels, nice shop, cute restaurant/cafe, good Audioguides (GET THEM)
Cons: there is no permenant collection- I really wanted to see more stuff from the Hermitage rather than specific shows, a little tricky to navigate as it uses gates to enter the gallery part of the building, not the cheapest place, also people had to tap the audioguides so there was a lot of people ducking in front of us