September 12, 2009
The Vermeers in the Mauritshuis museum have been inspiring artists for over a century. Van Gogh fawned over the technique in Vermeer's painting of Delft. Of course, The Girl with the Pearl Earing inspired a contemporary screenwriter. One can purshase her immortally-young face in about every size. Only about 33 Vermeers, worldwide, have been authenticated, so seeing even three in one place is rare.
Rubens, on the other hand, was more of a business man, subcontracting some parts of is own canvass out to other artists more skilled in certain types of paintings.
On to Delft, which was packed with the Saturday-Market crowd walking past vendor's tents along the canals and populating the plazas and other places. On this September saturday, it seemed like almost entirely Dutch people and not tourists: just folks looking for something to do on a the weekend.
Back in Haarlem, the plaza, too, was packed by people. The cultural weekend here included middle ages tents, foods and activities in the plaze. At the Philharmonic, free concerts drew people.
After dark, the fun moved to one of the canals, where boats paraded on water and people promenaded on shore. On one end, a live band played Stevie Wonder hits. On the other end, large speakers pumped out disco versions of Michael Jackson hits.
The atmosphere here is very comfortable. People are normal looking, clean and polite. No beggars; no pushy vendors, we are left alone to do as we please. Everyone seems healthy and content.