If you’re on the way to IBC and arrive at Amsterdam Airport before Spetember 5, visit the Rijksmuseum Schiphol exhibit of nine Dutch Flower Paintings. In Holland’s Golden Age, a painting of a flower was much less expensive than the real thing.
Cut flowers were luxuries in the 17th century. Only the wealthy could afford to have them in their homes and gardens. Beginning after 1600, the trade in tulips was a highly speculative and very profitable business. By 1630, at the height of “Tulip Mania,” tulip bulbs were bid up to prices equal to an elegant house on a canal. Neither the tulips nor the bubble lasted long. Was this the first mortgage crisis?
Most people could not afford real flowers in their homes. The first flower still-lives appeared in the 1630s and 1640s as an cheaper way to enjoy them. Better yet, the painting of a flower could last longer.
The Rijksmuseum Schiphol is next to the Bols Genever gin mill on Holland Boulevard between E and F in the area before you exit to passport control. The museum is open daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free. There is also a permanent exhibition of Golden Age Masters from the collection.
A new exhibit will be ready beginning September 7: “Dutch Girls.” The collection consists of nine well-to-do, leading models from the Golden Age, painted by Frans Hals, Caesar van Everdingen, Isaak Luttichuys, and Barholomeus van der Helst.
Of course, this is not an excuse to miss the real Rijksmuseum, and the excellent Rembrandt & Degas exhibit going on now.