There's some nice stuff at the Rijksmuseum, but I was a surprised not to see many of the Dutch Genre paintings I remember Michael Grillo showing in my undergraduate Honors lectures. Paintings from the same period, the Dutch Golden Age (the 17th century) were definitely in evidence, but few of the ones I remember from slides. A common theme at the time was the still life feast: a table overflowing with rich, exotic foods. Dishes of silver, gold, and glass were brimming with oranges, walnuts, oysters, and cakes. Special care was taken to play with reflected color and realism. These paintings represented the cosmopolitan, merchant-class culture of the Netherlands when they were a world power and the Dutch fleet ruled the seas. Vermeer's skill with color is obvious in reproduction, but it is more obvious still when displayed beside contemporary works. Rembrandt's gigantic Nightwatch really is quite amazing, though the cultural significance is clearly lost on me. Back outside, the fog lingers on past eleven in the morning, but the sun is bright and it's beginning to warm up. Just down the street is the Van Gogh museum, where I learned how Vincent was influenced by Japanese art. It's really evident in some of his paintings once you think to look for it. Next door is a temporary exhibit on 19th century Barcelona, where I see some early Picasso.