The only moment of the day in which you can quietly walk along the city center of an overcrowded Amsterdam is at the crack of dawn: that’s the time when you carelessly go around parts of the city you would otherwise avoid. That is also the moment in which, as a local, you feel that the city is yours again ( was it ever…?) – even if just for a couple of hours, before the sea of tourists awakes. However, and despite the fact that I love this sensation, I somehow really need to have a strong reason in order to wake up early. And the good reason for me is always art-related.
Getting an invitation to attend an insta-meet at the Rembrandthuis at 08.30 was the perfect excuse to rise up to the chirping birds, last Sunday. It goes without saying that I was enthusiastic about it. Meeting a team of creatives first thing in the morning at an inspiring museum? Count me in. Anything Rembrandt related? Count me in. Having the master’s iconic house empty to welcome all of our artistic endeavors, right before opening-time? I’m there!
At 08.30, as we were stuffing our mouths with croissants (yes, we were greeted with breakfast!) we learned that in 1639, a 33 year-old Rembrandt moved to this newly-built merchant-house at the, back then, flourishing Jewish neighborhood. It was the Golden Age of the Dutch Republic, and more particularly of the city of Amsterdam, which was setting itself a center of business and wealth. The Jodenbreestraat 4 was thus Rembrandt’s home for almost twenty years – during the peak of his success -, and which he eventually would have to sell, later on in his life, to avoid bankruptcy. At this typical Amsterdam type building, the morning light is very particular, creating a game of light and shadow which sets the atmosphere reflected in Rembrandt’s works. This – and the fact we were surrounded by his prints and some of his paintings -, provided us an unique opportunity for photographic creation. I felt like one of Rembrandt’s pupils, who frequented the house back in the 17th century to receive training. Now, my personal equipment is poor, but someone with a good camera and the skills of Elise from @amsterdamcitizen, can really pay tribute to the master’s artistic style. Look at these images she made of me.
One of the things I really liked at this museum was the fact that there is always a side exhibition bridging the public into contemporaneity. As a lover of color, I was impressed by these particular Glenn Brown’s works.
Might you want to experience a morning like this, make sure you are at the House of Rembrandt a few minutes before 10.00 (the time it opens to the public). This way you make sure to enjoy both the quietness of it and the morning light, while exploring the environment of one of the greatest visual artists of the entire history.