18th – 22nd March
Now is the time to visit Amsterdam. Not only is the city crammed with culture and good dining, but it will also be hosting the greatest Vermeer Exhibition of all time. The trip will explore the 17th century world of Vermeer, Pieter de Hooch, Rembrandt and other Dutch masters. Their works will be seen against the historical and architectural background of a booming city. We will concentrate on the turbulent times of a new powerful merchant class and a city coming to grips with a new religion.
The trip coincides with the highly anticipated Vermeer retrospective at the Rijkmuseum. With loans from all over the world, this promises to be the largest Vermeer exhibition ever. The museums involved will also be conducting new research into Vermeer’s artistry, compositional choices and the creative process of his paintings. With new technologies and analytical techniques, Amsterdam’s celebration of Vermeer may just uncover new discoveries about the Dutch Master and his practice.
Saturday 18th March
We will arrive in Amsterdam just after lunch. Once we have dropped our bags at the hotel we will walk to the Rembrandthuis on lively Jodenbreestraat. The journey there will provide an opportunity for a brief introduction to the city and its history. We will discuss how such an unprecedented explosion of power and wealth of a newly emerging mercantile class created a demand for a new style of art. Moreover, the new Protestant religion meant that traditional Catholic modes of artistic practise were no longer acceptable. Rembrandthuis is where the master painter spent his most successful years, living and running his painting studio. The interior has been exquisitely reproduced, so you feel like you are stepping back into the 17th century as you move through the house. The near-complete collection of Rembrandt’s etchings, as well as a few original copper plates, is a treat to see. Supper will be at an excellent restaurant near our hotel.
Sunday 19th March
We will spend the morning at the Rijksmuseum, a brief stroll from our hotel. During our first visit we will concentrate on the Golden Age of Dutch paintings including works by Jan Steen, Rembrandt, Pieter de Hooch, Frans Hals and the redoubtable Judith Leyster.
A short walk will take us to the nearby Van Gogh Museum where we will have lunch in their stylish restaurant. The collection is housed in one of the most successful sixties buildings ever built and we shall see the celebrated extension designed by the flamboyant Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. Supper at a good restaurant in the historic centre.
Monday 20th March
We will take a 50 minute train to Vermeer’s birth town, Delft, where we will spend the day. In the morning, we will visit the Museum Prisenhof which is holding an exhibition on ‘The Delft of Vermeer’ which will provide us with a rich cultural-historical context in which Vermeer’s practice flourished.
After lunch we go on a pilgrimage to see Vermeer’s final resting place in Oude Kerk (Old Church), also famous for its leaning tower and beautiful stained-glass windows. We will then visit Nieurwe Kerk (New Church), which has a rich history and the tomb of William of Orange. We will take the short train ride back to Amsterdam in time for a rest before dinner at a place famed for its fish.
Tuesday 21st March
In the morning we will return to the Rijksmuseum to explore the key Medieval and Renaissance works in the collection. We will see wonderful, little-known Dutch artists such as Geertgen tot Sint Jans, as well as Italian favourites such as Fra Angelico and Carlo Crivelli. We will seek out works showing the origins of the Dutch Golden Age and the development of their love of Still Life and Group Portraiture.
After lunch we will walk to the Royal Palace, which is perhaps the architectural pinnacle of the Golden Age. With marble galleries, enormous chandeliers and magnificent paintings, no expense has been spared. We will end the day with a fantastic supper in a charming restaurant in the centre.
Wednesday 22nd March
Having situated ourselves in the historical and cultural context of the city over the week, we will be perfectly positioned to make the most of the Vermeer Exhibition at the Rijksmuseum. We will give an introduction to the exhibition and then allow you to explore the paintings at your own pace. This jewel of an exhibition brings together Vermeer works from all over the world, and will include masterpieces such as ‘The Girl with a Pearl Earring’, ‘The Geographer’, ‘Lady Writing a Letter’, and ‘Woman Holding a Balance’. There will be some free time for shopping or further exploring before we meet again for lunch. We will then make our way to the airport for our flight home.
Dr Richard Stemp and Holly Morrison will lead the trip. Both are very experienced AHA tutors and are well versed on Northern Renaissance art and Vermeer. Holly lives in Amsterdam and so has an insider’s knowledge of the best bars and restaurants.
We will stay at the Hotel Estherea, a 17th century house on Amsterdam’s oldest canal, the Singel and within walking distance of all of the museums. The hotel is beautifully decorated with a sense of fun! There are a limited number of rooms with a canal view, so let me know if you would like this upgrade.
We do not book the flights thus allowing you to travel to suit your budget, use airmiles, travel between different airports or on different dates. However, we recommend buying the following flights with:
18th March London Heathrow 11.00 – 13.25 Amsterdam BA0434
22nd March Amsterdam 17.25 – 17.35 London Heathrow BA0447
There will be airport transfers to meet the recommended flights and we will take the train to Delft.
There is quite a bit of walking on this trip, as well as uneven cobbles. As is the case for all our courses, there is a lot of standing while we discuss the works we are looking at.
Dinner is by no means compulsory, but we book a table for the group each night at different restaurants and divide the bill equally between everyone.
The fees are £2145 which includes accommodation and breakfast, all four lunches, transfers for the recommended flight, transport when connected with teaching, entrance fees, tuition, reading lists and local advice. The single occupancy supplement is £195 (double room for single use) and an upgrade to a canal view is £300 a room. Not included are the flights, all suppers, travel insurance. The group will not exceed 16 people and we will divide in to two smaller groups wherever possible.
Please complete the online registration form, having read our terms and conditions and pay a deposit of £600 via bank transfer.
If you have any queries please email charlie@arthistoryabroad or call 01379 871800 (302)
NB you must buy your own flights.