The ‘Spanish Masters from the Hermitage. The world of El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, Velázquez, Murillo & Goya’ exhibition can be admired in the Hermitage until 29 May. This exhibition draws attention to the broader context of painting in the Spanish Golden Century (second half of the sixteenth and the seventeenth century) and the echoes and continuation in subsequent centuries.
Spanish masterpieces were created during the reign of Philip II, the absolute monarch of a colonial empire who enforced strict rules for Catholic paintings. The period that followed was dominated by artists including Francisco de Zurbáran, also known as the Spanish Caravaggio.
A great many aspects of Spanish history are highlighted in this collection, such as the horrors of Napoleon’s conquest in 1808, bullfighting and Mediterranean pub life. The variation of the exhibition is also expressed in the alternation of Spanish painting styles: Baroque, Rococo, dramatic realism and spiritual minimalism.
As far as brown cafés go, this one is heaven on earth: a complex history spanning a couple of centuries, a regular clientele that always have a good story to tell, a handsome barman that plays just the right type of forgotten singer-songwriter or honey-toned pre-war jazz and almost always the soft clacking sound of billiard balls in the background. They produce home-cooked comfort food for a perfect Dutch lunch, they can turn into a bustlingly busy and loud place at night and they have one of the best terraces to enjoy a late night drink looking out on the Plantage streets. Definitely one of the best bars in Amsterdam.
They serve a lot of specialty beers here - draught and bottled - enjoy one while playing billiard