Kunstmuseum Basel

Scott wanted extra sleep so I went to the Kunstmuseum by myself. It is not far from the hotel and walking without rain while looking at flowers made a pleasant morning stroll.

The museum has a good representation of old masters, by which I mean pre-18th century. Some museums, especially in North America, include anything pre-20th century as old masters including the Impressionists. However, the works tended not to be major ones and often preparatory, not finished works.

For example:

A tiny Rembrandt
Reubens’ sketch

I don’t want to say it wasn’t a good museum. There were good works.

Holbein’s Erasmus
Gericault, after a Ribera work

The above was once thought to be a Caravaggio. The museum now calls it by Maino.

I have to confess that I hit a new low while in a museum: I set off an alarm.

The below work by a Dutch artist was called Still Life Breakfast. I could not figure out what the various items were in the painting. There was bread, water, grapes, a fish, maybe walnuts and what? A cuttlefish? That seemed a weird breakfast item.

I leaned in for a closer look and set off an alarm. This was about 45 minutes after the museum opened and no one else was around when two guards came running into the room.

One guard said something to me, probably in Swiss German, then asked if I spoke English. I said yes and she told me the alarm went off because I got too close. She then said keep a distance and enjoy the museum.

How embarrassing.

Back to the art.

Some good pieces:

Van Gogh
Rousseau (I did a jigsaw puzzle of this)
Frank Marc

Like Zürich, the Basel museum has an entire new building which houses the modern art. Instead of going there, I met Scott for lunch at the museum bistro, which has a small menu but seemed nicely done. It reminded me of the restaurant at Musée Des Beaux Arts in Montreal.


Instead of going back to the museum, we decided we should take advantage of the dry weather and walk around the old town, which we had barely seen.

Tinguely Fountain

We went to the main church, the Münster.

When we went inside, musicians were practising on the organ and other instruments.

The cloisters and outside area towards the river was pleasant.

While enjoying the view, Mickey Mouse strolled by.

Then he wanted money. I gave him the paltry coins I had. He held his nose. It stank, but it was all I had.

We walked on, as did Mickey.

More of the Munster
White and blue houses owned by silk merchants, now the university’s buildings
Martin’s kirche

Getting to this area involved walking uphill after descending towards the river to get to the Munster. We then had to go downhill again to go to the Rathaus.

Scott’s knees were unhappy.

The Rathaus, like in Zürich, is where the state and city council meet.

Basel’s Rathaus is much fancier.

In the courtyard is a statue of one of Julius Caesar’s generals who is considered the founder of Basel.

Nearby is the Mittlere Rheinbrücke, where the earliest bridge across the Rhine was built to connect Gross Basel with Klein Basel. The latter was the working class and industrial area.

The rivalry between Gross and Klein is demonstrated by a face on the wall of the building facing the bridge. The guy’s tongue moves to stick out at Klein Basel.

Dinner was at Les Trois Ross, the oldest hotel in Basel and named for the three wisemen who brought gifts to baby Jesus. They did not stay at this hotel, but the reference is about giving comfort to travellers. Our daughter-in-law recommended the bar for the view of the river and the availability of a number of wines by the glass. There is a Michelin star restaurant, Cheval Blanc, but we went to the more casual Brasserie.

Foie gras terrine
Salade with white spargel
Escalope Vennoise
Veal Cordon Bleu

I could not finish the thin but plate=size veal cutlet. Nevertheless we ordered dessert because they had Crepes Suzette, which Scott made once about 35 years or more ago.

We ate the whole thing and then they brought post-dinner dessert bites. We’ve been served these at high end restaurants before and I think they must have a name but I don’t know it.

Google maps says it is 1.7 kilometres from Les Trois Ross to Hotel Victoria. Some of it is uphill. We figured out which tram to take as we were given a Basel Card and our Swiss Travel Pass also entitles us to us the trams and buses.

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