She calls the prejudice against flower still lifes ‘boring’, but they really have everything they need to be exciting. Look at it for longer than three seconds and you will experience everything. How nature takes its divine course and yet is improved by painters who see their chance for exuberant colors and frisky fantasy. You see melodrama and melancholy. Stems entwine, buds burst, leaves curl, butterflies get lost and beetles swarm. Extreme beauty coincides with glorious decay. The flower is pleasure, the flower is passion, the flower is dead. Memento mori, the flowers are buzzing.
As soon as I read about rooms full of 17th-century flower still lifes in the exhibition In full blossom in the The Hague Mauritshuis, I go wild – in the 17th century flower painting was nothing too crazy. I’m going to make a reservation and I’m only just in time: the whole weekend is almost full. Now that the direct Covid threat has been averted, more and more doors are opening, from cafes, from theaters, and also from museums. Everyone is eager. Good for the entrepreneurs, good for the public.
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But the truck drivers ignore that. They will not be taken away from them and, imitating their Canadian colleagues, they put the Binnenhof and the center of The Hague in a jam. I ignore my preconceptions (even though I see them confirmed) and follow their action on TV and Twitter, reading the company names on the cars. Because those are facts: Jappie Groeneveld (refrigerated containers for the catering industry – eh… they’re open again, guys), Jan Bakker Transport (‘quality and customer-oriented’ – really?), Hans Lip (‘excavating & demolishing’ – be proud of it). Another fact: the Mauritshuis is located directly behind the Binnenhof. I realize with sadness that I don’t have to risk it in that chaos. And don’t have the heart to trivialize that – I have just as much right to grieve about that as a bunch of truckers do to be the knight for ‘the people in the broadest sense of the word’.
It is Sunday. The truck drivers left The Hague, the people were not waiting for them. I can forget about a resit in the Mauritshuis today (full!). But I received a You-Tube link from the Grachtenfestival with which I live stream of the final of their concourse for conservatory students. The Kaña Trio (from Codarts) kicks off: three gifted percussionists, a lubricated show. They start on the tambourine and I think: no, huh. But that turns out to be an exciting instrument (again, one less prejudice). Then they let the spectacle swell through increasingly larger percussion instruments. The cellist Laura de Armas (Prince Claus Conservatorium Groningen) closes. Everyone did something with fringe, with poetry, film, story, she only offers music. The spectacle is her talent, the show her concentration. She wins for me. The Kaña Trio wins for the jury. Can also.