Amsterdam Art 101, (Musings on a Sea Day)

The Promenade Deck has the dining room, the theater and the cinema.  But it has a design flaw.  The kitchen sits mid-ship and you can’t get from fore to aft on the promenade deck.   We usually use the aft staircase to get to the dining room the deck above us, or the café, library or lounges on the deck above that.  But if we are coming down to our room from the cinema or theater we use the mid-shop stairs.  Since we use the aft stairs the most when we get to our deck we instinctively I go forward two cabins and try to enter the room.  But if we are using the mid-ship stairs we are trying to enter a room that isn’t ours.  One time that door to that room was not latched and Suzi walked in on a lady sleeping.  I’m thankful that I was not in the lead on that one.  But we soon recognized that there is a bust of a Roman woman next to the mid-ship stairwell.  If we see the bust we go aft, if we don’t we go forward.  It’s art you can use.

On the Amsterdam art is part of everyday life.  Holland America takes art seriously and has many interesting, provocative and sometimes whimsical pieces on display.  This post is about the art I see every day.

One of my most frequent haunts is the Piano Bar.  Not because of the piano, but because it is where Rabbi Gan lectures most mornings on Jewish history and religion.  It’s a fascinating series but sometimes my mind wanders and when that happens I find myself looking at a set of impressionist paintings “Grand Café Views” by American Michael Ryan, commissioned for Amsterdam in 2000.  I love both grand cafes and impressionist art.

Just aft of the piano bar, are some wool tapestries “Impressions of the Americas” by Dutch textile artist Barbara Broekman.  Their color and action in the tapestries draw me in each time I pass them.

A deck below is another wool tapestry by Dutch artist Karen Appel.

The Explorer’s Lounge on deck 5 aft of the Rabbi’s bar has a huge oil painting “Ships in Front of 17th Century Amsterdam” done on Aluminum by Peter J Sterkenburg. I was taking the picture bleow when one of the kids on the ship, perhaps age 10, said “this painting is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”

In the same lounge there is an original oil painting from the 18th century “Small Ships Moored at a Quay, Man O’War Beyond.” It was painted by an admirer, and in the style, of Abraham Jansz Storck.

On the same deck there is collection of Chinese art.  My favorite pieces are glazed pottery figures holding the symbols of the Chinese Zodiac from the Ming Dynasty created around 1600.

Keeping with the Chinese theme is a door display containing a pair of door stops from the Qing dynasty from around 1700 (one is pictured), along with a pair of wooden palace doors from the same period. Two door guardians stand close by.  They are from between 1350 and 1400, the period at the end of the Yuan and the beginning of the Ming dynasties.

Rounding out the Chinese theme is the figure of the Daoist Goddess Doumu made of blanc de-chine porcelain from the 19th century.

I usually reach deck 5 via the aft staircase or elevator.  When I arrive I am greeted by an English limestone bench.  It incorporates some grotesque figures copies from Raphael.  I can imagine it on some English estate at the beginning of the 20th century.  Above it is a water color of antique books by the English painter Louis Block from the late 19th century.

On deck 5 I always stop to look at the “World’s Planispheres, a bas relief was cast in 2000 for the ship based on old atlases.  I love maps.

Every day I swim laps.  There are two pools on Amsterdam.  My favorite is the sea view pool, aft, which has glazed ceramic bench by Dutch artist Dora Dolz.  The mid-ships’ pool pays homage to Alaska, where Amsterdam spends half the year cruising.  A mama grizzly and her cub were cast in bronze by American Suzanne Holt.  In a niche behind the pool there is a bear cub playing with a stick.

Between the two pools is the Lido Restaurant where we eat breakfast.  The entrances to the Lido Restaurant are flanked by hand painted tiles, made in Italy in 2000 recreating “Scenes from the Vecht River.”  These scenes were originally by Nicholas Visscher drawn in 1718. Visscher was best known for his illustrated maps.

The aft stairway is one of our main thoroughfares.  At each landing is a gable stone, (rather than a cornerstone) from an Amsterdam house. Here are the two on the landings that flank our deck.

The most notable piece on the ship is the three story tall Astrolabium and clock tower.  It chimes on the hour.  It starts on my deck, deck 3, and goes up to deck 5.  I’ve posted pics of this piece earlier in this post

To see more art on the MS Amsterdam please go to Amsterdam Art 202.

3 thoughts on “Amsterdam Art 101, (Musings on a Sea Day)

  1. I’m reading your blog VERY late but have enjoyed it. Especially this one about the layout of the dining room and the art. We spent 50 days on the Amsterdam not long before your world cruise and the last two segments of the Grand Asia cruise.

  2. Glad to hear that when your mind wandered during the lectures you found some solace in my paintings. I just saw them on board via your photos for the first time. Thank you for mentioning my work and for the tour!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.