The next morning we woke up in the very unique city of Rotterdam. I had no idea what to expect for this stop, Rotterdam is a very large, bustling city with some of the most intriguing architecture I have ever seen. Those cube buildings in the first two photos are apartments.
We drove past most of the city's architecture on a bus tour, but we made a special stop at this one of a kind market. It is ginormous, and has apartments all along it's outer edge, that's what those windows in the ceiling are. The market is made up of dozens of different stalls ceiling all sorts of foods and flowers. It would have been easy to spend hours in the maze of stalls, taking in all the amazing things from sale from the most gourmet pasty shops to basic every day grocers. I wish I could have taken more pictures of this amazing place, but unfortunately I got very car sick and spent a majority of my time here looking for a coke to help settle my stomach.
After our city bus tour, we made it to the morning's final destination, Museum Boijmans. This is one of the most fascinating museums I have ever visited. It mixes art from some of the most beloved masters such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet, and Degas with more modern creators such as Dali, Mondrian, and Warhol as well as a few new contemporary artists. I never knew what I was going to encounter as I entered a new gallery. I hung out in the lobby for a while when we first arrived since I was feeling so sick. So, I had plenty of time to contemplate this amazing coat check. I first thought it was a modern art piece until I watched patrons enter and proceed to check in their coat.
When I was feeling well enough to stand and slowly walk around, I made my way through the different galleries. I loved being on my own, going at my own pace, enjoying the complete silence of each room, and having time to dwell on individual pieces of my choosing. These are just a small collection of some of my favorites from this museum.
I try to create fantastic things, magical things, things like in a dream. The world needs more fantasy. Our civilization is too mechanical. We can make the fantastic real, and then it is more real than that which actually exists." -Salvador Dali 1940
I am so in love with that quote from Salvador Dali, not only does it give his fantastic works a much deeper meaning, it also is an inspiration to be more like him and fill our world with beautiful, magical things.
A Couple With Their Heads Full of Clouds
Salvador Dali 1936
"Silhouettes of a couple with their heads full of clouds. We know from photographs and remarks by Dali himself, that the cut-outs are himself and his wife Gala. The objects on the table are repeated in an obvious visual rhyme, in small figures in the landscape, then again in the landscape at the back."
When I walked into this gallery, I jumped back and gasped in surprised fright. Even though the character peering up out of the floor was boxed in glass, I seriously had to stare at him for a minute or two to make sure he was indeed a work of art and not an actual person. The mannequin was so lifelike! This is also a perfect example of how this museum mixed contemporary and classic art, such a unique place.
Little Dancer of Fourteen Years
Egar Degas 1180-1881 (1922)
"This mercilessly observed, 14 year old ballet dancer is the only sculpture that Degas exhibited during his lifetime. The original of 1881 was made of colored wax, and had real hair, ballet shoes, clothes and a silk ribbon. Most critics were scandalized by such radical truth to life. After Degas's Death, 25 bronze casts were made and the sculpture became an icon of 19th century Realism."
Poppies in a Vase
Claude Monet 1883
Le Port De Rotterdam
Paul Signac 1907
"The French painter Signac visited Rotterdam in 1906, and a year later he painted this panorama of it's port. It is based on drawings he made on the spot. He added color to the composition with many small, adjacent dabs of mainly pinkish red and blue. Signac assumed that the viewer's eye would automatically combine those unblended colors to form the desired intermediate tints."
Vasili Kandinsky 1911
"Kandinsky is regarded as the father of abstract art because he believed early on that color and line can touch us as deeply and directly as music. That idea lead to paintings without subject matter called 'Composition' or 'Improvisation'. Here he is on the threshold of that new art, although he still suggests an intended movement with recognizable symbols such as a horse, a rider and a tree."
Composition with Color Fields
Piet Mondrian 1917
"In September 1917 Mondrian wrote to his colleague Van Doesburg to tell him that he had 'started on new things' that had advanced his work 'a little further'. He was referring to a small group of paintings of colored rectangles on a light background. They are surprisingly poetic, partly because of the delicate colors, and would soon make way for severer work"
I found it thrilling to see such an early work of Mondrian's, there are definitely characteristics of his well known, and beloved style, yet the colors are so light, and pastel. It was fascinating to see how his style developed from works like the one above.
Composition No. II
Piet Mondrian 1929
"Straight, black lines with a few squares of primary colors between them. Contemporaries found it hard to get used to this rigid equilibrium, but a Mondrian like this one is now a classic. Interestingly, it was immediately bought for Museum Boymans by a few of the artist's admirers."
White Aphrodisiac Telephone
Salvador Dali 1936
"In the 1930s, Edward James was Salvador Dali's most important patron. He and his wife, Gala, stayed at James' country house in West Dean on several occasions. In 1936 they stayed at his house in Wimpole street, where Dali made the celebrated telephone with the lobster receiver, a creepy fantasy that makes the prospect of receiving or making a call anything but inviting."
A collection of Rubens. We need to bring back his idea of the ideal, curvaceous woman.
I found this piece of contemporary work endlessly fascinating. There wasn't any gallery card, that I could see, that gave a title or any explanation of the piece. It spanned the length of a window lined hallway which made photographing it in it's entirety nearly impossible. There were so many details that I wanted to document, but ended up with just a few photos that captured it's essence.
The museum itself is a gorgeous building with beautiful and serene gardens surrounding it. I would have loved to been able to stay and have a calm and relaxing lunch in this cafe, while viewing the sun bathed gardens.
When I saw that they had a 17th Century Dutch exhibit, I spent a good half an hour navigating the maze of galleries to make sure I found it before we had to leave. I made it with just a few minutes to spare. The main attraction I desperately wanted to see was their nautilus cup! I have said it a million times on this blog, but for those who haven't read about it, I wrote my college thesis on 17th Dutch still lives and how the nautilus cups represented the power and domination of the East India Trading Company over the oriental colonies with which they traded. So I will forever have a love for these amazing and unique works of art.
Next to the cup, was this delicately carved and elaborately embellished coconut. In all of my research during college, I never encountered a description or explanation of these types of ornaments. A quick and limited search on the internet leads me to believe that these were used as flasks by Dutch sailors up until the 19th century. This is definitely on the more extravagant side of the ones I saw on the web, thus it must have belonged to a high ranking officer, or someone of equal status.
Something that I did come across in my college research and even included in my thesis, were curiosity cabinets kept by the wealthy upper class Dutch during the 16th and 17th centuries. They would collect all sorts of foreign "curiosities" from the trading companies, and display them in these ornate cabinets to show their wealth and culture. I found this one, pictured above, to be the most beautiful of the ones the museum had.
I love how it has the emblem of the tulip, another craze that happened around the same time in Holland was Tulip-mania, were bulbs of exotic Tulips were sold for up to the equivalent of a million dollars. So it makes sense that the wealth would want tulips to decorate their curiosity cabinet.
There was a clear case with some of the elegant pieces the upper Dutch class might keep in their Curiosity Cabinets, I found this glass dragon to be particularly intriguing, I would have wanted it for my cabinet if I were alive during that exciting time in Dutch history.
After our visit to this one of a kind museum, we headed back to the ship to get some lunch and a nap before heading to the Hague to see some extremely famous works of art, in one of the most stunning museums I have ever been in. Stay tuned for images from that wonderful experience!