Our trip starts in Amsterdam with the Stedlijk museum of modern art Then we hit the biggest one Rijkstadt for the classic Dutch masters the dear Van Gogh and finally we visited Anne Frank's house.
Amsterdam is the place to go when you want to pick up a few more of the classic paintings you may have missed in other places. And I had an extra one I was very curious to see in person
I’ll grant you your own taste in art. But this chick has captured me. It’s called Lady with a Brain and Marie Lessnig has even more entrancing art in the museum. One of my tricks when I visit museums is find books in the gift shop then order them from Amazon. Which I did. My book on Lessnig
will be waiting for me when I get home and I don’t have to schlepp it in my suitcase through the next two weeks.
The Lady with a Brain is one of those paintings that just reaches out and grabs you and won’t let go. It's been on my friend Debbie's Facebook page since her son came to Amsterdam earlier this summer. He even brought her home a postcard. The minute I saw this painting I knew I had to see it in person when I had the chance. And here I was. She did not disappoint.
Once we had the first museum out of the way I reverted to a technique Elizabeth and I developed years ago. You might call it the Cliffnotes of museum visiting. Stop by the gift shop BEFORE going inside. This helps you hone in on what you want to see and not waste valuable time on other paintings. Our theory is "If your art isn’t good enough for a refrigerator magnet why should I walk all over your hard marble floors to find it."
Thus armed with my remedial Art History 101 trick we went to check out the next two museums. I discovered to some horror that the Dutch Masters were a bunch of chauvinist pigs. One of their
biggest and most famous Rembrandt paintings-- not the big one but a lesser painting--depicted them meeting about their administration of a women’s prison. Women were. jailed for stealing or begging and forced to spin fabric for them.
I am always shocked to find that Beaven enjoys art, too. We spent a little time looking for his favorite then we both heard a pastry calling our name.
After what some might call dessert but we considered lunch we had a timed entry to the Anne Frank House. You weren’t allowed to take pictures but I have developed a technique for which I do NOT apologize because I AM A JOURNALIST. There really and truly things that people need to see and jus because they can’t go there themselves I provide a photo.
And for some reason the photo I took isn’t loading. It was the yellow Star of David patch that all Jews were required to wear on their clothes. Required. They had one ondesplay in Anne Frank’s house. The house her family had to hide in for three years. And remain silent during the day because downstairs was a business with people coming and going. Three years for fear of their lives.
Pretend there’s a picture here
Here. Here it is This really happened. The German Government forced some of their own citizens to wear an identifying patch on their clothes to set them apart. To deny them full inclusion in society. To degrade them because of their religion.
And I want to say that we’re in danger of something similar happening again.
THEN to touch my last nerve a couple of teenagers came into the room where we had lined up to see the actual diary the line was so long and the room so small that the line had the curve around. Maybe if you were a teenager not paying attention to ANYTHING THEY HAD SEEN IN THE ENTIRITY OF THE HOUSE SO FAR they might not have slowed down enough to notice there was a line. At any rate they cut in line right in front of me. Never one to make a fuss I waited. But they they started laughing and joking and moving around too fast for me. I reached out and tapped one on the shoulder. "Where are you girls from?" That seems to focus them and they said they were from Washington DC. I said I bet there were a lot of museums there. Small talk ensued to keep them focused on talking to me. I ended with "you know a lot of people consider this place to be sacred ground." And I got zero response from them. Nothing. Nada.