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Gerard van Honthorst, The Merry Fiddler, Rijksmuseum AmsterdamDuring the winter 2018/2019, it was all about Caravaggisti in Utrecht - a group of painters from Utrecht and elsewhere who traveled to Rome and there underwent the influence of the art of Caravaggio. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (called Caravaggio) was a staggering painter under more than one aspect. He and his successors Bartolomeo Manfredi and Jusepe de Ribera, called Lo Spagnoletto, influenced many painters in Italy who adapted Caravaggio's style and developed it further. Three of these young painters from Utrecht in Rome were Hendrick ter Brugghen, Dirck van Baburen and Gerard (Gerrit) van Honthorst. 

After these three artists returned to Utrecht, this city and the Netherlands, too, got to know the often dramatic chiaroscuro painting of Caravaggio and his surroundings. The style that now is called caravaggism even had its impact on artists who never traveled to Rome and Italy, like Abraham Bloemaert and Rembrandt van Rijn. 

Until March 24th, 2019, the Centraal Museum in Utrecht presented an important special exhibition on painting of the caravaggisti in Europe and Utrecht - a welcome occasion for Kukullus to offer a guided city walk in Utrecht as a supplement to this show. 

Medieval 'Pandhof' (cloisters) next to the Utrecht Dom Church.The square in front of St. Martin's Cathedral in Utrecht lies in the heart of the city center. This is where the origins of Utrecht can be found and where in Roman times, everything began. Here, Roman soldiers guarded the frontline of the Roman Empire, the Limes Germanicus, from the 1st until far into the 3rd century AD. They called this place Traiectum (a place to cross) and the city still owes its current name to this. 

Since then, the square next to the Utrecht cathedral (that was built centuries later) is the focal point of the city. It was here that after the Romans had left, the first medieval church buildings were erected and in their proximity, first settlements of civilians rose. On this spot, Utrecht's oldest history is buried in the ground, here, international festivals and important commemoration ceremonies take place, as well as political demonstrations and protests sometimes.

Walking tour around the Utrecht cathedral

Together, we walk around the Dom Church, officially called St. Martin's Cathedral, and we explore the Gothic architecture, the charming cloisters called 'Pandhof' with its secrets, and the impressive Dom Tower with its height of 112 meters - the highest church tower in the Netherlands. 

The 'Oudegracht', the old canal in the centre of UtrechtUtrecht in the very heart of the Netherlands has many different facets. With romantic canals, old mansions and town houses, street cafés, many churches and former monasteries, nice little shops and boutiques and unusual museums. The vibrant city with the cathedral tower (Domtoren), the highest church tower in the Netherlands, as its main eye catcher, can look back on a long history, leading back to (at least) the Romans. Utrecht's long cultural history knows peaks as a medieval episcopal diocese and during the 17th century, the so-called Golden Age, and has many treasures to offer until today. 

Sightseeing in a boomtown of the middle ages

The two main canals crossing the old center from North to South are the busy Old Canal (Oudegracht) and the more quiet New Canal (Nieuwegracht). There is much to discover along these canals and in the streets branching off them, hidden tranquil corners as well as highlights of every sightseeing tour in Utrecht. Explore charming Utrecht with Kukullus as your local guide and get to know a multifaceted city on a tour crisscross through the city center. 

Abraham-Dolesteeg Utrecht Hidden corners and true little treasures that you don't find described in every guide book. For example a piece of city history yet to be discovered in a covert backyard, an alienated clandestine church, an art nouveau facade that is easily overlooked, an almost forgotten former monastery, a remarkable excavation site, a hidden architectural detail, a special sundial or other jewels in Utrecht. A city walk for people who want to get to know Utrecht better. Sightseeing in Utrecht in a different way. 

Honthorst, Granida and Daifilo, 1625, Centraal Museum Utrecht.A walk along those spots in the city that belong to Utrecht's Golden Age. During this period, roughly covering the 17th century, Utrecht was of special importance for the international success of Dutch painting. But much happened in other cultural and social fields, as well. Of some of these developments, traces can still be found in the city. We follow these traces through the historic centre of Utrecht where you will discover well and less known places, seen from the perspective of this booming period in Utrecht's cultural history, which also was of major importance for European art history in the 17th century.

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