|Probably the best known image of Delft, so I'm using it here. Much of gay life these days happens at a place visible on it: In the middle of the image is the small building that houses the DWH, local gay community center.|
the little tower left was part of the Santa Barbara cloister back then
it now is restored as a student fraternaty building. I was a member there, enjoying my first student years, around 1970.
The church steeple behind is the same one as you see on the photograph of me, only seen from the other side of town as the map below will illustrate
|Delft was the second city of Holland back then, Holland being only the current two provences with that name. And apart from it being the residence of the founding father of the Dutch nation was a center of tolerance and science. Here we have a portrait done by Vermeer of Christian Huygens, who not only invented the microscope but brought Dutch painters to using lenses to obtain more accuracy in their drawings.
For more on that read the book secret knowledge, David Hockney wrote on the subject. Do watch some great vidclips of boys posing for a camera obscura there.|
|William of Orange (to the left here, below is his son prince Maurits painted by de Key from Antwerp. He may look sweet here but he became a ferocious warrior later on.
His residence, called Mauritshuis, these days is the museum that holds most of Delft's heritage, including the Vermeers described here and lots of Rembrandts) led the independance war against Spain in the 16th century resided in Delft and thus became founding father of our country was murdered here by an assasin sent by king Phillip II of Spain.
|these burials were a big do. Maurits (as boy above) was brought to the crypt about a year after his death, as it took a while for foreign heads of state to travel here in those days. His was even more impressive then the one of his father. And they still are pretty big events today: I witnessed 3 royal burials in my lifetime sofar. A report on the one the recent burial of Queen Juliana is here (31-3).|
|You may wonder why this emphasis on churches, well this whole era and the war between Spain and the Dutch was about religion and tolerance. I'd like to show one more interior by Emanuel de Witte, of the Old parrish church of Amsterdam, the main church there then. I worked in that same church last season doing set and light design for a dance performance|
|below is a (enlarge by click) portrait of a rich citizen of Delft and his daughter giving an alms to a beggar on the corner of the Oude Delft and the Binnenwatersloot.|
done by Jan Steen
research in 2006 proved the man depicted was not the mayor but wheat broker Adolf Croeser (ca. 1612-1668). He lived across the canal from Steen at the Oude Delft and had 5 children, of which only the girl Catharina survived. She was 13 in the year this painting was made.
Fabritius' life was marked by a lot of tragedy: He lost in succession his son, wife and doughter and was only 32 when he died himself. He was born in1622 in Middenbeemster and at 19 became student of Rembrandt, which is remarkably late for those days. He goes back to his birthplace in 1643 and only in 1650 moved to Delft, where he painted this musician you see below here at a spot I cross daily the corner of Oude Langendijk and Oosteinde.
The date is there: 1652. You would not believe how exactly the same that spot looks 350 years later. Only the piece of canal where the woman stands has been covered over and the tip of the steeple has been rebuilt differenty after a fire in 1783. The tower, on which building had begun in 1396, burned in 1536, again in 1618 and in 1872. That last time it was heightened much steeper to become the heighest tower in the country, it remained that for 100 years until the Dom of Utrecht was also heightened. Also the tallest house below the tree at the right is still there and owned by a good friend of mine, who runs an antique shop there.
|The above mentioned Doelenstraat is just across the Schie from where I live now and the powderhouse has stood about 200 meters away from my house across the canal. The ground piece is still owned by Defence today and houses a , hopefully less explosive, military storage facility. The foto (by downstairs neighbour Eric) here shows a look in that direction from our house. The tall trees grow on the spot of the former powderhouse. In front you see a boathouse built out of a restoration of a former citywall-tower (see map above). That building has another link to Vermeer. The architect who built it was Johan Vermeegeren, (real name), who was sentenced to years imprisonment in 1948 because he'd forged paintings by Vermeer. He did not copy work but made original pieces posing them as new finds of Vermeer originals and did trick major musea, like Boymans in Rotterdam to buy them for millions of dollars. These days the Boymans has overcome it's shame and exhibits the forgery on it's own merit.|
|go on||to the golden ages, the lobby, masterclass overview or links|