For the past three years, Very Good Friend Helena from Brunnen (near Lucerne) Switzerland has graced me with an annual visit in Germany. This year, in Munich, our first adventure was tackling the Museums of the Alte and Neue Pinotheks together. The Masters and Impressionists of European art, respectively, reside at these museums.
We concentrated only on the Vermeer Woman in Blue special exhibition at the Alte Pinothek, and the French Impressionists at the Neue.
It was delightful to hear the German guide’s commentary on the Vermeer painting. Her clear and inspiring comments reminded me why I’m in Germany. The clarity and forthrightness of her explanation about the form, structure, color, and subject of the painting made it engaging and easy to understand.
I learned that many of these genre paintings with exquisite light were symbolic connections to the Dutch military and its world explorations, that included Asia and the Dutch East Indies.
I had never connected these dots before. The guide even raised the symbolism of women’s place in society. They represented the Republic and their noble public image vs. that of men, who represented soldiers and their bad behavior away from home. Men often were sailing or serving as soldiers. When they arrived at port, they often headed to the brothels and engaged in bad or uncomely behavior.
This was certainly a new spin on art history and the exquisite Dutch, light-filled genre paintings that I came to admire. I couldn’t help but to connect the home-bound intimate interiors with the fanciful red light district in Amsterdam.
A few other notable artists’ works in the Neue Pinothek included these impressionists from the 19th Century:
On Sunday we rolled down the hill and across the swift flowing river to the Deutsches Museum. The Isar River not only has a surfing spot, but also a decent sandy beach down down the street from where I live in the middle of town!!
The Museum is one of the foremost science museums in the world. It’s a full scale playout of The Way Things Work and more. We focussed on the Planetarium and Astronomy sections of the museum. The English translations are excellent. The featured image above is from a diorama replica of the Challenger Expedition in 1872.
On Thursday night, I attended the Goethe Institute’s International Dinner and taught my Turkish classmate how to use chopsticks. She was a natural.
Her boyfriend and another Turkish classmate helped her prepare a ready-made Turkish dish of mini-ravioli pasta that was delicious with a mild sauce!
And as a parting bonus video: a clip of the evening performance of the organ concert at the Asam Kirche is below. You can read about the church in the previous post.
Here’s VGF Helena at lunch next to the museum and an irresistible baby at the next table: