Travels with Tim and Lisa

"If my discoveries are other people's commonplaces I cannot help it – for me they retain a momentous freshness" (Elizabeth Bowen)

Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Wednesday June 10th 2015

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 11, 2015

Another day, another wonderful art gallery, this time in Rotterdam.

The Museum Boijmans van Beuningen is a little different because it is inclusive of art from outside the Netherlands, and it has quite a bit of modern art, but truth be told, although I quite often like modern art, I tend to find it banal after I’ve been admiring the art of earlier times.  Even major impressionists look a bit limp after looking at Rembrandt and Vermeer, so it’s best left for another day, IMO.

We have to pack for our departure for Brussels tomorrow, so without further ado, here are the highlights of today’s artworks!

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8 Responses to “Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Wednesday June 10th 2015”

  1. Jonathan said

    There aren’t the same restrictions on taking photographs that you had in England then?

    • Lisa Hill said

      It’s odd, some places are very strict about it for no apparent reason, and others are quite relaxed – as long as you don’t use flash. I think it’s important not to make a nuisance of yourself taking the photos either – there were some people taking selfies in front of The Night Watch who were really annoying, especially since they didn’t seem to look at the painting at all. I mean, what is the point?
      What I do with my photos is turn them into a screen saver, so that I often see them slowly scrolling past and I get to know them really well. At the moment I have a gorgeous collection of antiquities from the Hermitage (little Sumerian figurines and so on) and I just love looking at them.

      • Jonathan said

        Don’t you find that a lot of people are only interested in seeing pictures that they already know about rather than discovering something new?

        Where are you off to tomorrow?

  2. Lisa Hill said

    It’s hard to know. Sometimes you can tell that a person looking at a painting in a detailed way is a scholar, but yes, often it seems that it’s the celebrity status of a picture that’s the attraction.
    But I suppose I’m guilty of sticking with what I know in a way, because I tend to zero in on the early medieval art and then work my way through to the Impressionists. I like finding each gallery’s earliest works and picking out the first one to have a building, or a farm or whatever in the background, and I also like finding tradesmen and craftsmen, like the ones on those famous doors in Florence. I love looking at the faces – I reckon I can pick a Tuscan any time!
    So while I like finding something new (to me) within the periods I’m familiar with, I’m not very interested in exploring stuff I don’t know much about like cubism and whatnot. I have to be in the mood for modern art!

    • Haha, Lisa, you told us it had quite a lot of modern art but I see none in your photographs! Where’s all this modern I wondered!

      I like hearing, in your comments, about how you approach art galleries. I don’t really have a standard approach. It depends a bit on the gallery I suppose. I do quite like modern art, though I don’t always understand it so I tend to try to see more and learn more. Some modern art can be very ideas-oriented, I think, which means that they are not always lovely to look at or easy to make sense of. But I get tired of a lot of highly detailed medieval and religious art. I like some of course, but rooms full are just too much for me and my eyes glaze after a while.

      I love Degas’ Little dancer whenever I see her, btw.

      • Lisa Hill said

        She’s gorgeous, isn’t she? I never cease to be amazed at the way he integrated the textile of her skirt (I don’t know what it is) so that it almost looks as if it’s been cast out of metal too.
        Tim and I approach the galleries in quite different ways. I’m enchanted by the medievals, I like their naivete and I like their simple faith, and their people all seem to have such diverse personalities. There was one I loved that you can’t see well in the photos, of a baby Jesus with the shepherds, and you never saw a more suspicious baby than this one looking up at these strange men, looking as if he’s just about to bawl.
        Tim likes the renaissance and spends ages admiring brushstrokes of the masters and whatnot, whereas I scamper around looking for the odd ones that are maybe not so well done, but are intrinsically interesting. I like character in my paintings, and I like identifying the symbols.
        But the moderns, I like to see them separately. I find I have to engage with them on a more intellectual level and (as you say) look past the ugliness sometimes, and (nearly always) ignore the lack of drawing or painting skills. And I just don’t want to do that when I’ve been looking at the lovely stuff. So I take a break – coffee, lunch, the next day, that works for me.

      • You and Len would get on well – the lovely stuff versus the ugly stuff. Drawing or painting skills. Hmm, the eras are so different. Those older eras are so focused on minute detail, as you say. Very different skills perhaps?

      • Lisa Hill said

        The more I learn about art (and I’m the first to admit that I have a lot to learn) the more I realise that the old masters were commenting on everyday life too, just in cunning and subte ways. Like Russian authors writing under Stalin…

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