Yesterday my cousin Amy and I drove up to the North Shore so that I could attend Amanda's second semester review (which went very well) and while we were up that way we stopped in at the Hawthorne Hotel for lunch in the Tavern and to say 'hi' to Juli. Lunch was delicious - of course - and then we had just enough time to walk down to the Peabody-Essex Museum and take a quick look at their current exhibit that runs through June 17th called Golden: Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection. Juli highly recommended it as well as provided us the way in (thanks, Juli!) and I'm very glad she did as the exhibit is totally amazing.
According to the PEM's website:
"The Van Otterloo collection is virtually unrivaled for its masterworks by the leading Dutch and Flemish artists of the 1600s: Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Jacob van Ruisdael, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Aelbert Cuyp and many others. At PEM, over 20 examples of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish furniture and decorative arts, also from the Van Otterloo collection, are shown in the company of these glorious portraits, still lifes, landscapes and interiors."They are not kidding either, the paintings in the Golden exhibit are exquisite - not a word that I use very often when it comes to art but definitely applicable in this case! The detail defies description and some of the paintings were so clear and life-like that they looked more like a photographic portrait rather than a painted one. The beautiful pictures sure didn't look to be anywhere near as old as they were either and it was hard to believe that we were looking at paintings that had been done in the 1600's. I was very impressed and would loved to have had more time to spend looking at the paintings but I wanted to give Amy at least a little time to look at some of the other exhibits the PEM has to offer before we had to go.
We made a quick walk through the upper floor of the East India Marine Hall where the girls and I had seen FreePort by Charles Sandison back in December - remember the exhibit with all of the script that flowed like sea currents? There was no current exhibit going on and it looked like there would be some sort of private function going on shortly as there were tables set up around the room but it did give us a chance to look at some of the figureheads that adorned the walls of the room - figureheads that were downright difficult to see when FreePort was running as the room was quite dark.
Amy remarked that the figureheads of the women were none too flattering - like this blonde-haired lady pictured here - but I told her that I doubted that anyone would look all that great propped up on the bow of a ship and sailing through rough seas! She agreed but said that she thought the male figureheads were much better looking. Maybe it was easier to carve males than it was females? Either way I have always found figureheads to be fascinating but then again, I've come to the conclusion that I had some sort of connection to the sea in a previous life as I find most things about the sea fascinating.
Heading to the lower floor of the East India Marine Hall we looked at a few more nautical/marine exhibits before we decided we needed to wrap it up in Salem if we were going to get over to Beverly in time for Amanda's review. Before we did, though, I took Amy for a quick drive past the Friendship, the Custom House, and the House of the Seven Gables being that yesterday's trip was apparently her very first to Salem. Had I known that beforehand I'd have made sure we left earlier in the day and had more time so I could have played tour-guide and shown her a few more of my favorite places in the area! Truth be told, I wish I lived up there and could play tour-guide all the time but alas ...
Anyhow ... even though it's nice to have Amanda home (or at least I hope it's going to be nice to have Amanda home!) I'm going to rather miss having an "excuse" to go the North Shore until she hopefully goes back to Montserrat in the fall. Until then I guess it's so long to Salem for now - rats!