Friday, 6 April 2012

POPLIN POSTCARD: Escape to Amsterdam

Last weekend, I jumped on a couple of trains and left a hectic week behind for Amsterdam. I fell in love with the elegant facades in their tonal palette of browns and blacks and creams, tried to avoid eye contact with the "ladies in shop windows" that seem to pop up on the most civilised of streets... and had the most delicious dinner at Posthoorn restaurant, in a sweet harbour village 20 minutes outside the city. (They also have five rooms, so after your extravagant Michelin-starred supper you can just climb the stairs to bed- no taxi necessary!)

Rembrandt's restored townhouse was our rationed tourist activity for the weekend. Unlike many artists who, quite ironically, even poignantly, are only really appreciated posthumously, Rembrandt was hugely successful while he was alive and lived the high life in Amsterdam. He still managed to accrue lots of debt though and eventually lost his property to his debtors.

 In 1911 a museum trust bought the house back, and using the inventory from the sale of all his treasures, the house and studio has gradually been restored to its former glory.

My favourite room was his walk-in cabinet of curiosities, filled with classical busts, fossils, ancient papyrus scrolls, an array of archaeological flotsam and jetsam...  Still life inspiration.

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