The Art of Rotterdam
The M/S Rotterdam has a good quality collection arrayed throughout its public spaces. Holland America Line reportedly paid some $2 million for it when the ship was built in 1997. It is also a diverse collection including antiques and contemporary art, originals and reproductions, and works from Europe, Asia and the Americas.
The largest work on the ship is the Atrium Clock. Rising through three decks, this work has 14 clock faces and is capped by a sculpture of Atlas holding the globe. It looks like an antique that could have once decorated the stathuis of some Dutch city. However, it was actually made for the ship by a husband and wife team Gilbert Lebigre and Corinne Roger.
Another original work is a bronze sculpture of a group of sea lions, which is located by the Lido Pool. It is by British sculptor Susana Holt. Similar wildlife sculptures, underscoring Holland America's connection to Alaska cruising, can be found by the pools in the line's Vista and S-class ships.
Also as in other Holland America ships, Rotterdam has a stairtower featuring paintings by noted maritime painter Captain Stephen Card. One or more of his paintings is displayed on each landing between the decks. The portraits here are of the current Rotterdam and the five predecessors that bore the Rotterdam name.
Facing the Explorers Lounge on Deck 5 is a giant landscape painting depicting a Dutch scene during the 17th century. While “View of the harbor of Amsterdam by the Singel canal” looks like a Golden Age painting, it is in reality a contemporary work by English artist Ian Cairnie.
Rotterdam has quite a few contemporary paintings on various subjects scattered throughout the ship. For example, “Spring” by Jan Peter van Opheusden is a colorful still-life with a Post-Impressionist feel. Outside the Neptune Lounge are two Auduban-esque watercolors of birds by Walty Dudok vn Heel.
There are also some older paintings too such as a 19th century minature on copper of Leonardo Da Vinci.
The public areas of the ship are also dotted with sculpture. In the theater, there is a small bronze bust of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands by Nel Van Lith. Several decks higher outside the Crow's Nest observation lounge are two lifesize statues representing “Summer” and “Autumn.” Although these are 20th century works, they are reminiscent of the statues that the Victorians liked to place in parks and cemeteries.
Asian art is also prominent. There is a display cabinet with bronzes, ceramic figures and pottery from Han Dynasty China. Another cabinet contains Japanese samurai armor. In addition, there are reproductions of soldiers and horses from the Chinese Terracotta Army guarding the Future Cruise Desk.
These are only examples of the works on display. As Holland America likes to point out, this is a museum quality collection. It may not have the masterpieces of the Louvre or the Hermitage but it does have interesting pieces. Moreover, it succeeds in creating a cultured atmosphere for passengers who enjoy a refined environment.
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Above: Atlas kneels atop the Atrium Clock by Gilbert Lebigre and Corinne Roger.
Cruise ship art collection review - Holland America Line - - Rotterdam