Sunday, June 18, 2017

Small Wonders, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

On Thursday I was invited by Holland tourist office on an 'up-and-down' trip (same day go-return) to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.  We would see two new exhibitions. One on Middle-Age micro-carved Miniatures, SMALL WONDERS. For a closer look - go to Small The other exhibit on new Photography of the 19th century. Lunch first at restaurant RIJKScreator of many small wonders like this green gazpacho. 
Surprise desserts at Rijks, recently awarded a Michelin star.
The museum's restaurant is not at all small and situated in the facing courtyard.
With a secret back door that takes you directly inside the museum.
Newly renovated in 2013, the interior is full of natural light and airy in contrast to the outer architecture.
Going up the stairway to the new exhibits I was surprised by flower-like lights that 'bloom' open and shut while moving up and down.
Just in front of a beautiful case of china.
Inside Small Wonders - these 16th century Dutch micro-carvings can be the size of walnuts.
Often referred to as prayer nuts, they come from the Delft workshop of Adam Dircksz.
Astonishing. Exactly the size of real peapods. Each pea opens to reveal the life of Adam and Eve. See the link under the first picture for a magnified view.
The display rooms are high ceilinged and wide
Yet designer Aldo Bakker has found a way to make a large space intimate
You are drawn in and focus all your attention on these exquisite small objects. Many fit easily in the palm of your hand.
If you live in Toronto or New York, Small Wonders Exhibit has been in your city.
We were lucky to have curator Frits Scholten who brought these 60 pieces together and knows all their stories, show us through the exhibit.
Mostly devotional objects, these were treasured and passed on as family heirlooms, so their condition is excellent. A tiny magnifying glass was only recently discovered hidden in this box.
I was enthralled with this little bust. These objects are all carved from Boxwood from Picardie, a very dense, very fine wood that does not easily splinter.
A carved bead! The figure pops up and down out of the head.

Saint George and the dragon lent by the Victoria and Albert museum.
Curator Scholten said, "l have studied many dragons." 
If you get to Amsterdam please see the SMALL WONDERS exhibit on until 17 September. And do not miss the rest of the RIJKSMUSEUM either. Or the green gazpacho at restaurant RIJKS! All bucket list material.
Here's a small Paris chocolate bowtie for Parisbreakfast fathers out there.
Do you want more Amsterdam? 
Please say so in the comments below.


  1. Fabulous! Definitely more A'dam, please! One of my fave cities

  2. Anonymous1:48 PM

    Oh yes, please! Actually - more of les Pays-Bas in general, if you're about there anyway. There are (literally) fairytale gardens, picturesque views, all sorts of architecture old and new, inventive people and canals and windmills and tulips coming out the wazoo ;P

    Would love to see those views re-imagined by you in your drawings/paintings.

    Best wishes you talented lady you ;) Your musings and doodles brighten up someone's day, everyday.

  3. Those small wonders are truly wonderful, the talent and patience to carve them is remarkable. Yes, more Amsterdam please and I'll have a bowl of that gazpaacho also.

  4. Wherever you go here..I will follow!I have had a few Dutch friends..I know people who swear by going yes!

  5. Anonymous10:01 AM

    Absolutely Amsterdam! I've only visited once and decided it is one of the most beautiful (and romantic!) cities in the world. I would love to see you paint Vondelpark...such a magically transportive spot. Thank you!

  6. Oh, please! Actually, I enjoy all of your posts. Living vicariously here in Indiana. Thank you!

  7. Do not miss the herring!

  8. Great photos, Carol.
    The museum looks great.

  9. Carol, please, please post all you have of Amsterdam! It's one of my very favorite cities!
    Also, fascinating pics from the Rijksmuseum! Any chance you would put some watercolors of Amsterdam on your Etsy site? What a treat that would be!!

  10. Love the flower lights in the museum! Beautiful!!! That sounds like a whirlwind trip, sometimes the quick trips are the best!!

  11. Certainly more Amsterdam. I love your travels and charming watercolors! If I can't get there myself, I travel with you and bear.

  12. Hello Carol,
    Yes please to more Amsterdam.
    Love the "China" from China with Chinese scenes.
    LoVe the blooming paper lanterns
    Such exquisite treasured objects, j'adore tne tiny bust of a Madonna with gold crown.
    Lastly the colour of the green gazpacho, so summer on a plate.
    Love Vanessa

  13. I have always wanted to visit the Rijksmuseum since I was an art major in college in the 70s. THanks for the virtual visit! More Amsterdam, please!

  14. Oh yes, more Amsterdam! It is one of my favourite places.
    Thank you, Mary

  15. I've seen similar prayer nuts at the British Museum. The minute details are gorgeous!

    1. They were probably lent to the exhibit Miggsy.
      The UK contingent was there for the preview.

  16. What a great day out - to Amsterdam! I love the shelf of ceramics and the floaty lamps. Also discovering these tiny miniatures, I've never seen them before. Always live what you show us and would be interested in more from Holland, unfortunately I've not been there......yet. Enjoy!

  17. Anita in Amsterdam7:54 AM

    Thank you for sharing your experience and own watercolors from the "Small Wonders" exhibit in Amsterdam. I live in the area and definitely plan to go!

  18. Oh my! These micros are just amazing -- I wish I could see that exhibit in person!

    And the resto -- I wish we'd eaten there when we were in Amsterdam. We found a cute little bar or small restaurant near Concertgebouw -- pub food and fine but this looks like a lovely experience!

  19. These ancient things and their maintenance is very tough and even the way the pictures are take for being used in the blog are mesmerizing, I would appreciate the way of writing I would also be sharing my views on visit in Amsterdam soon which will tell you many things about Amsterdam


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