Amsterdam Day 4: How to Die a Penniless Artist

Before I begin, I forgot to post this before – one of the typical oddities I like to discover in strange cities: an ash tray awning.

Such concern for ashes I've never seen.

OK. Another day on my own. First on the solitary agenda, the Rembrandt House. Rembrandt bought the house for 13,000 guilders back in the day when the average person only earned 300 guilders a year. He paid for it though. Or rather, he didn’t. He financed the house and a number of years into the loan he defaulted and the house and everything in it was repossessed. D’oh!

The HOA hated this billboard.

Today the multistory house is a museum with rooms recreated as close as they can get to the way they were when Rembrandt owned it. The rooms were small by our standards and the doors low. Rembrandt had a fascinating collection of exotic items he used as references, a print shop, and a nice airy studio. Once again I was floored by the idiocy of tourists as they had be repeatedly told not to sit on the fragile 16th century chairs.

Rembrandt's cheeky fireplace and endangered furniture.

Rembrandt's portrait busts and stuffed alligator.

Poor Rembrandt. Just another example of a genius dying broke and being given a pauper’s burial. (His remains were actually destroyed and anonymously disposed of.)

After the Rembrandt House I’d wanted to hit the Anne Frank house but the GPS let me down again as I wasted time trying to find my way to Rembrandt Square. I grabbed a bagel and a latte near an impromptu craft market so’s to avoid wasting more time with lunch, and at long last ran across my objective. At least it was worth the trouble. The square was dominated by an imposing (and flattering – it’s decidedly svelte) statue of the painter surrounded by–among other things–the men of his famous Night Watch.

Rembrandt and his posse.

At four o’clock it was too late to get to Anne Frank at my direction-challenged snail’s pace so I opted for the Museum of Bags and Purses, which was just around the corner. This was a quirky kind of thing, a nice change of pace from all the heavy-duty history. Many of the exhibits were unphotographable thanks to dim lighting (to protect the fabrics and other materials) but I did get a few pictures such as this weird goat skin pouch worn on a belt from the 16th century:

Looks like a wearable goiter.

these cool Lucite bags:

This cute little mouse bag:

And this purse based on the work of artist James Jean.

Now I just need to find the shoe museum.

Evening dinner report – cloudy with a chance of Indian Food.

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

XHTML– Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>