• The Spanish Masters come to Amsterdam

    by  • November 26, 2015 • Amsterdam, Art, City Breaks, Culture Breaks, Exhibitions

    The Works of El Greco, Ribera, Velázquez, Murillo and Goya go on display in the Dutch capital.

    Think of master artists and Amsterdam and chances are you’ll instinctively conjure up images of the Rijksmuseum, of Rembrandt and Vermeer. And yet, this weekend sees the Spanish Masters come to town with the launch of an exciting new exhibition at the Hermitage Amsterdam, sister museum of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.


    Each year the Hermitage Amsterdam plays host to a rolling cycle of temporary exhibitions on loan from its Russia counterpart whose permanent collection is so vast it can never be shown in its entirety. Entitled ‘Spanish Masters from the Hermitage. The World of El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, Velázquez, Murillo and Goya’ this latest offering by the Hermitage presents a collection of 60 paintings in addition to a further 40 or so graphic and applied arts works not only by the aforementioned artists but also by their pupils, Picasso amongst them.

    The first time that such an impressive array of Spanish art has been brought together in the Netherlands, the exhibition seeks to explore not only the ascendency of Spanish art in the Golden Age, but its influence on art in modern times, too. And not only that, it provides the perfect artistic complement to a Rijksmuseum visit, an essential component of any Amsterdam city break.


    In the words of the Hermitage itself:

    “The works of the great Spanish painters are exceptional for their exquisite convergence of the spiritual and the theatrical. Influenced by the Italians, painters like El Greco, Ribera and Zurbarán developed a singular Spanish style marked by strong contrasts of light and dark. Their works exude the temperament and pride of the Iberian Peninsula.

    Murillo and in particular Velázquez, a trendsetter, added their own signature to that style and reached new heights. Goya, an equally awe-inspiring talent, followed in their footsteps with his confrontational realism. Goya is also famous for his penetrating graphic cycles and a number of his dramatic etchings are featured in the exhibition, including pieces from Los Desastres de la Guerra, depicting the horrors of the Napoleonic occupation of Spain.

    The artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries continued the tradition, rendering the strong contrasts in society in works that reflect both the sun-drenched Spanish culture and the dark sides of history.”

    Housed in the former Amstelhof building overlooking the River Amstel, the exhibition launches on Saturday, 28th November and runs through until May 29th, 2016. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm, closed only on December 25th and April 27th. Entrance costs 15€ for adults and 5€ for children between the ages of 6 to 16 (free for fives and under).


    With a French grandmother, childhood holidays on the continent and a degree in French and Spanish, a love of languages and travel has always been in my blood. Fresh from university with an unfettered enthusiasm to show off my linguistic ability and first-hand knowledge of the world beyond the UK, I entered the travel industry and, 16 years on, I’m still there! With several years spent in the luxury sector planning escorted holidays across Europe for the American market, followed by an even longer tenure designing short breaks with a difference in the must-see cities of Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid, Prague, Florence, Brussels, Venice, Salzburg, Milan, Krakow and Berlin (to name but a few), it’s fair to say that Europe is my passion! Today my travels have taken me far beyond the boundaries of Europe with so many destinations still to discover, yet the continent abounds in such a wealth of treasures – historical and architectural, cultural and musical, gastronomic, artistic and linguistic – that its appeal, for me, will be eternal.