For the Low Countries blogs I focused on topics that interest and mean a lot to me: Dutch poetry and translation, museums and learning, 17th-century paintings and 21st-century presentation of such paintings.
Here are two reading samples. Click through if you like to read more.
‘Framing the Museum’ discusses two recent documentaries that go behind the scene at two world-reknown national museums, the National Gallery in London and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam:
Hoogendijk chose to mirror the Rijks’ collection by playing with light and shades. Her frames echo the fog on the collection’s early-1900s cityscapes, the golden glamour of its seventeenth-century burger-portraits. A conflict between the Amsterdam Cyclists Union and the Director about a cycling lane further adds to the documentary’s drama. It gives insight into the Dutch poldercultuur of coalitions and compromises, and decision-making processes at public institutions.
In the New York Times David Brooks explained why elders smile. Brooks argues they are skilled in ‘bifocalism’: elderly can, at the same time, relax and focus. Their creative vision is liberating exactly because it goes hand in hand with a knowing sense of perspective. Brooks sees this as an accomplishment, rooted in effort and experience.
Contemporary critics questioned Rembrandt’s and Turner’s eyesight near the end of their lives, yet these artists were skilled in the art of Brooks’ bifocalism. They were craftsmen whose work literally shines light on intimate details, as well as the grand and magnificent. These two artists painted not against their age, but because of their age.