As I promised, I will give you a review of my visit to the Amsterdam Museum, last Thursday.
It was a rainy day, as you can see on the picture, but the museum was located in the center of the city, so there were plenty of tram stops nearby. The entrance is amazing. It’s just in the shopping center of the city. The location is very surprising; just in between two shops; there’s an alley and a gateway with the three crosses; which is the crest of Amsterdam. The gateway is very old, it belongs to the orphan house, in which the museum now is located.
It was kinda hard to find the entrance of the museum though, for all you see, when you enter the gateway, is a simple courtyard and a restaurant. But when you walk through the next gateway, you will find the entrance. (something simple, but I needed at least 10 minutes to find out,..)
Like I said in my earlier post, I visited the museum together with my son. (He’s on the pictures) So when we got to the counter, to get our tickets, the lady assumed we were planning to see the little orphanage. But I told her I wanted to see Saskia, for I read that the museum has the painting of Rembrandt’s wife on loan from the Washington’s National Gallery. And I wanted to see it. So, the lady explained to me where I could find the painting, but since my son actually was eager to see the little orphanage, we went to see that first.
The little orphanage was a nice surprise. It was built around the story of the life of Jurriaan Pool; a painter I actually didn’t know anything about. But, he grew up in the building which is now the Amsterdam Museum. The little orphanage shows how life was like, living in a 17th century orphanage. I actually had the feeling it should have been much more gruesome than the museum displayed. But, well,.. maybe it REALLY wasn’t that bad,.. For the museum told about the education the kids got, about the stables, the food, the medical care and the clothing in a child-friendly way.
The orphans lived in a big house which functioned as a little town, so they did not have a reason to leave the house. Jurriaan moved there, together with his sister, when he was three years old. His sister, however, had to live in another part of the orphanage. Girls and boys were strictly separated. The museum did tell this, but did not put much emphases on it, because, it actually is very sad. Having lost your mom and dad at the age of three is a horrible experience. And being separated from your sister, after this experience, makes it even worse, if you ask me.
But the museum did make the visitors believe the brother and sister had some kind of communication. By letter perhaps. Even though it is not very natural for a three year old to be able to write.
Anyhow. The little orphanage did not only tell the story of Jurriaan Pool, it also showed plenty of paintings of 17th century orphans. I only took one picture, which is not very clear, for the painting is just a little part of the picture. You can see it if you scroll up. The painting is behind the crack in the wall. The orphans were to be recognized by their red and black woolen cloths. None of the paintings in the little orphanage were real. It all were prints. The museum has a very obvious reason for displaying prints: the children visiting the little orphanage are allowed to touch everything, so real paintings from the 17th century would not last for long. But for me; I would have preferred real paintings, lol.
Just before the end of the tour through the little orphanage, we were told that Jurriaan was allowed to leave the orphanage, before the habitual age of 18 years. For the orphanage found him a painter who was willing to house and train him. They didn’t mention which painter, unfortunately.
So, Jurriaan became a painter. And the fact the orphanage was willing to arrange his apprenticeship, makes me believe the orphanage actually wasn’t as bad as I think it should have been,.. Jurriaan did not become a very famous painter,.. although a portrait of him and his wife is in the collection of the Rijksmuseum. Which probably means he was important enough to be remembered.
When finishing the tour, one can see a real life painting (finally!) made by Jurriaan Pool. The picture is not very clear, (again) but you are able to see Jurriaan in the oval shape, right to the middle.
After visiting the little orphanage, we finally were able to visit Saskia. What can I say? It was typically Rembrandt. And at first sight I wondered why it took him about 3 years to finish this painting, for it isn’t very complicated or big. But perhaps he loved her so much, it was hard for him to work on the painting. I would understand, for I have been trying to create a portrait of my son a couple of times, and I just can’t be satisfied with the result. I love him so much; it needs to be perfect. If I would paint his portrait; it probably would take me 3 years to finish it, as well.