The royal palace in Amsterdam is being restored and cleaned. Technical repairs come in the first place, but the campaign is also intended to reduce the disturbing differences between the lightest and darkest blocks in the facade. To Schwartz’s eye the operation, impressive and succesful as it is, nonetheless increased the contrast between the upper and lower stories of the palace. Continue reading “313 The hygric division of the royal palace”
Between the 1610s and 1650 an enchanting form of painting was produced in Antwerp and Antwerp alone: the kunstkamer painting, an evocation of an art collection in which actions of various kinds take place. Love of art is not the only kind of love expressed in these paintings. In one of the very earliest examples of the genre, Schwartz discovers conjugal and filial love as well as love for God. Continue reading “311 Love in the huiskamer”
An eloquent new essay in what is called contemporary history, a book by the Dutch author Geert Mak on the Galata Bridge in Istanbul, brings back memories of the predecessor of the present bridge, which Schwartz first crossed in August 1961. It was a pontoon bridge that opened every night for shipping to the Golden Horn. Every time it was reopened for land traffic, a race took place that now seems like a clue to the creation of human values.
If the climate really does change drastically, culture as well as the environment will be affected. Dutch culture is closely linked to certain winter conditions that may disappear. All that will be left is false nostalgia, of which we have more than enough these days.
The Dutch children’s book star Miffy is 50 years old this month. Her statue, by the son of the creator of Miffy, Dick Bruna, stands on a square in Utrecht. It is executed in bronze and stands on a granite socle. Only the hardest of hard materials can be used for outdoor art in the Netherlands. Schwartz worries about the extreme degree of vandalism in his adopted homeland. Continue reading “231 Miffy in bronze on granite”