Sunday, April 26, 2015


Today we had a nice breakfast and listened to Joe Corn talk about the golden age of the Netherlands, when trading ships sailed out of Amsterdam to almost all corners of the world, and ordinary citizens lived well, and painting flourished.  We walked to the cathedral in Haarlem and saw the beautiful, overwhelming organ on  which a child Mozart played for an hour under the watchful eye of his father Leopold and where Handel came and played, amazing those who heard him with his technical skill.  A Haarlem organist then gave us a grand tour of his instrument, played for us, and invited us up 42 steps to view his three keyboards.  He sits perched behind thousands of pipes and seemed to really enjoy performing for us, reaching out left and right to pull out the stops and moving up and down over the three keyboards with ease.  

We then had a nice lunch and walked a few blocks to see big flower floats (picture to be attached I hope) did some shopping, and then went to visit the Franz Hals museum.  Hals was a portrait painter who did well in the seventeenth century and was then forgotten for two hundred years, until the "modern eye" was able to appreciate the virtues of his painting style, more painterly, almost impressionistic.  Wanda thinks that many portraits of Franz Hal were discarded because their owners were dissatisfied with them, they weren't polished enough for the taste of the time.  The same kind of thing happened to Vermeer, his particular kind of artistic magic was only appreciated later.  He actually wasn't successful at all during his lifetime.  It looks like we get to see some Vermeers day after tomorrow in the art museum of the Hague, including that famous girl with the pearl in her ear.  

A few of us took a brisk walk back to the boat, while the worn out others took the bus, and we had our art lecture from Wanda and then a traditional Dutch dinner, with sausage and mashed potatoes, but very fancy and tasty.  Now it's time to sleep after a very busy day.

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