Wednesday saw my art history class go to the Hermitage museum in the centre of town. This museum is a branch of the Russian museum of the same name. It isn’t one of the state owned Dutch museums and it instead operates, I believe, completely privately. It means it’s a bit pricier to get in (or free with a Museumkaart) but it is, I believe, completely and utterly worth it. We only visited the “Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age” but there is another exhibition on Napoleon and Josephine running which I would like to return and see. The layout of the exhibition, and the level of interactivity, has been so carefully thought through that it truly was a pleasure.
|The museum’s ‘Selfie Area’ allows people to be green screened into a group portrait type setting that includes photos of previous guests. My teacher (right of me) seemed to confuse the green screen somewhat 😉|
The main gallery is a large hall filled with group portraits which are most impressive. Grouped together like this it is quite overwhelming but in a brilliant way. At regular intervals there is a ‘light show’ which is linked the audio guide and takes you around key portraits in the room giving details about specific figures. In this sense, you experience something of the scale and magnificence of multiple images alongside one another but are assisted to appreciate the details held within single pieces. It’s very cleverly done. Seriously, I rated both the collection and organization here well over the Rijksmuseum.
There’s another floor of paintings that we rather rushed through although I don’t think I’m alone in saying that most of us could have spent a lot longer looking around had time been on our side. This floor was a bit less about portraiture, although that’s still the broad theme, and more about the history of the Netherlands, and Amsterdam in particular. In this sense, it was rather interesting for all of us, particularly us foreign students, as the exhibition gave a lot of really interesting information to contextualise the works, and the area in general. It wasn’t overly crowded either which meant it was comfortable to wander through at your own pace and actually enjoy.
Yep, I will be going back here, undoubtedly!
|A group photo of the class, taken in the gardens of the museum, seemed only fitting!|