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A pearl brightens the day


A desolate Sunday is brightened by a visit to The Mauritshuis in the Hague


Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring

It is a really miserable, wet, dreary, Sunday morning in Amsterdam. The rain pounds the cobbled streets and it feels gloomy and miserable. I feel disconnected and the day feels reminiscent of the boring, wet Sundays of my childhood.

But I press on with the day's plan - which is to travel to the Hague to visit The Mauritshuis Museum and see what is on offer there.

The train journey is easy and while the rain continues to lash the windows and all is grey and slightly misty outside, I wonder if I have done the right thing and should I have stayed in Amsterdam instead? The walk from the central station to the gallery only takes five minutes but I still feel as though I am on a strange planet. The shops are closed and hardly anyone is around. Signs of life begin as I enter the main square, and then suddenly I am in front of a very handsome building, clearly marked Mauritshuis.

My museum kaart gains me entry and I decide to start at the top floor with the Vermeer paintings rather than the Rembrandts. And what a good choice that was! Because practically the first painting I see is the much talked about Girl with a Pearl Earring.

I know much has been written about the painting, and perhaps it was because I had no expectations before seeing it, all I can say is that I found it to be truly lovely. My apologies for such a limited description, but there is such a magical quality about it that I find it hard to describe adequately. The girl herself reminds me of someone I know - with the very pale skin and delicate features, but this type of beauty is very unusual.

I have been in Amsterdam for a long weekend, and spent the previous two days at the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Gallery. Therefore I'd seen a lot of paintings before I reached this one. But it will definitely stand out for me as a highlight of this visit.

So the day got better from this moment on. There are many wonderful paintings in this beautiful setting and I would encourage anyone to make the 50 minute journey from Amsterdam to visit it.


The Mauritshuis

The Hague

The Netherlands

Open: Monday (1pm - 6pm); Tuesday - Sunday (10am - 6pm, until 8pm on Thursday)

www.mauritshuis.nl/en

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