Our first stop was the Peace Palace, funded by the Carnegie Foundation. Inside, the International Court of Justice and the court of the United Nations preside. Since press is not allowed inside, the public rarely hears about the proceedings here. Unfortunately, we were not able to tour the inside of the Peace Palace, but we did visit the visitors center where we learned about the Justices serving on these courts and even got to see the check Carnegie wrote to help build the palace. It would have been incredible to go inside, but even seeing the building was enough for me and it is am=n important landmark that works towards justice and peace for our world, something I find important.
Peace Palace at Den Haag
Once we finished up at the visitors center, we visited the Escher Museum, Escher in het Palais. As you can imagine from the name, the building which houses these works of art was once a palace. Escher is a Dutch artist who made lithographs, drawings, and woodcuts often inspired by nature that are incredibly mathematically precise. When making a woodcut, for example, the design is carved into a block of wood before it is printed on paper. After mulling over this technique, I could not believe how precise the works of Escher were. I cannot imagine drawing straight lies, let alone carving them into a block of wood! Many of his pieces feature optical illusions, the use of mirrors,a tessellations and repetitions of images. Some of his most famous works include "Drawing Hands" from 1948 and many of his depictions of stairs. Overall, I was incredibly impressed. Not only are the works wonderful optical illusions that test our ability to judge what we see, they also showcase an incredible amount of attention to detail. As someone who is a bit neurotic and adores attention to detail, these images by Escher were quite calming and impressive, If ever in Den Haag, the Escher museum is a must see.
Escher's "Drawing hands"
Of course, I couldn't just visit one museum. With only a few hours left in our day, I, along with two other girls, visited the Mauritshuis, a museum that houses Dutch masterpieces. The most famous painting that calls this museum home is "Girl with the Pearl Earring" by Johannes Vermeer. Being this close to a masterpiece, how could I not visit. For 11 euro, it was all worth it. As the name suggests, this museum is in a huis, so it is quite small and intimate with two floors chock full of works by master painters, like Rembrandt and Vermeer. the building alone is worth a visit; the second floor has a gorgeous painted ceiling and red walls that are utterly swoon-worthy. Without a shadow of a doubt, the "Girl with the Pearl Earring" is the stunner of this collection. Prior to visiting, I was familiar with the painting but I was not super drawn to it. After seeing her in person, I understand the fascination. She is incredible, stunning, with creamy skin and the earring she wears glistening under the light. I was mesmerized by her, enchanted by her beauty. Very rarely do I feel so deeply upon seeing a work of art, but this Vermeer is a painting everyone should see.
View of the second floor ceiling from the stairwell--absolutely stunning!
I take too many selfies with famous masterpieces. Here with "Girl with the Pearl Earring"
Another masterpiece selfie with Rembrandt's "Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp" (1631)
My trip to the Hague was wonderful. I experienced and was moved by works of art by two very different artists. for any museum-lover, the Hague should certainly be at the top of your list of places to visit!
A lovely quote by Escher-- "A good bit of childish wonder is undoubtedly needed. And I've got plenty of that: wonder is the spice of life."
Be sure to check out the Escher and Mauritishuis websites listed below!
Escher Museum: http://www.escherinhetpaleis.nl/?lang=en