My friends are used to my regular museum habit, but other people ask, “Again?” with a strange look of anguished confusion. Are they concerned about my brand of escapism or do they think they are missing out? (I don’t play games on my phone and I’ve never even tried golf, so I know I’m weird.)
I don’t know. Maybe there’s just a missing piece to the conversation about my art adventures? It’s true that I often recharge by revisiting familiar art collections in NYC, but I also indulge in ‘art wandering’— visiting exhibits and museums that fall outside any of my usual areas of interest. This wander factor took me into a “special exhibits” section of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. If I’d been asked as I entered the galleries featuring works from the museums vast collection of Marine Models, I would have said that I was just ‘whizzing through the toy boats’ on my way to other things.
The detailed models of the Dutch sailing vessels were beautiful, but it was the stunning, copper, STEAMPUNK submarine that stopped me in my tracks. It screamed out to me that it was ready for Captain Nemo!
The Duikboot model was based on the innovative design for a submarine by Antoine Lipkens and built of copper, brass, iron, lead glass and rope by Olke Uhlembeck in 1835/40. It would be another 70 or years before the Dutch navy had a real submarine and I doubt it was a beautiful as the wild model.
Once inspired by the craft that could double as a character in a science fiction story about a sentient spaceship, I began to examine the scale models of steampunk-ish components: mini screw propellers for lifting gears, tubular boilers (tubulaire stoomketel) for steam powered travel and turntables for aiming cannons.
A steampunk summer moment!