Mauritshuis, Binnenhof and surroundings, The Hague, Netherlands

Maurithuis, after Landon woke up at the end of our time there
After the multiple public meltdowns at Madurodam, Landon finally went down for a nap and I went to see my first art museum in the Netherlands. While I’m not an art critic or art history major, I do enjoy good works of art and still remember some key names from general ed university classes. I apologize ahead of time for not cropping my photos of paintings- I am at least a week behind on blogging and trying desperately to catch up before I forget everything. Also, I took pictures of these paintings with my flash off to preserve the beautiful art. Here we go!

This museum featured art from the Dutch masters and a very handy app that could be downloaded quickly on their fast, free wifi. It made the museum experience so much better to be able to look up information in English on paintings I was studying. I highly recommend it. The building itself is a piece of history- it was built in the mid 1600’s by John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen. The architects designed it to be very symmetrical and indeed it is. After changing hands a few times and being damaged by fire a few times, the Mauritshuis became the home of the Royal Paintings collection and opened to the public in 1822. That’s an old museum! The museum underwent huge renovations from 2012-2014 and reopened last June with a new underground foyer and entrance, as well as a wing for special exhibitions. 

Old Woman and Boy with Candles- Rubens
This first painting is by Peter Paul Rubens, who is known for painting very voluptuous women. He did not sell this painting, but kept it for himself and the app said that he probably used it as a study material for the students in his studio. He painted this in the style of Caravaggio- whom he had studied on a trip to Italy, as evidenced by the effect of the light source on the painting and the relative darkness of everything else. Rubens lived in Antwerp, which is in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium, except I’m not sure Belgium and The Netherlands had their current borders when he was painting back in the late 1600’s. At any rate, it seems the Dutch claim him.

Interesting candle holder in a main room

Rest on the Flight into Egypt- Brueghel I and Rottenhammer

Something I found interesting is when artists collaborated on a painting. In this painting, Rottenhammer painted the very interesting scene of Mary breastfeeding baby Jesus, Joseph, and the angel, while Brueghel painted the landscape. I also love the way Dutch art looks- so crisp and clean and realistic.

Ice Scene- Averkamp

I also love the detail and large scale scenes that show what normal life was like back in the day.

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp- Rembrandt

The above painting is a famous early Rembrandt. He was asked to paint the Amsterdam surgeons and portrayed them all looking in different directions at different things. 

Simeon’s Song of Praise- Rembrandt

One thing that is showcased in the above painting is Rembrandt’s fantastic and dramatic use of light. It looks like the light is both coming down from above and radiating from the Christ child.

The Goldfinch- Fabritius

I’m not sure why the Goldfinch is famous, but it is, so it is here. People were crowded around it like it was a big deal, so I thought I better take a picture. I have to note here that I was the only one with a stroller/child in the museum. Most patrons were over 60 and looked miffed about having to deal with walking around the stroller. I had to go on a secret elevator to go up to the 2nd floor- just like in the Royal palace!

View of Delft- Vermeer

Vermeer was an artist that lived in Delft. His paintings weren’t considered masterpieces until well after his death, so he died a poor man. His most famous painting- The Girl with a Pearl Earring- is pictured below.

Girl with a Pearl Earring- Vermeer
I liked this painting because it looked like a photograph of the inside of a church
This was the middle, big room that had a staircase
Gate into the Binnenhof courtyard
Right outside Mauritshuis is Binnenhof, the seat of government for the Netherands. Both houses of the States General of the Netherlands (Parliament) and the office of the Prime Minister. It was built in the 13th century as a castle and is the oldest house of Parliament in the world. We had just seen the miniature version of this building complex at Madurodam, so we had to check it out! It was incredibly windy, so we walked through, appreciated, took pictures, and quickly made our way back to the train station. 

Another courtyard gate

Inner court of Binnenhof

Ridderzaal- or Knight’s Hall, originally designed as a ballroom 
Old Department of Justice building, around the corner from Binnenhof
Landon and a statue near the Justice building

The Hague is in my top 5 favorite cities in the Netherlands. There is a lot of cool buildings and history here, as well as touristy things to do. My view of it could quite possibly be affected by the terrible weather we experienced while we were there. COLD, windy, and rainy. We will hopefully be back on a nicer day!


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