Brett and I visited the Museum of Islamic Art last week and relished the temporary exhibit there, "Golden Age of Dutch Painting. Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum." I guess the very title of this museum creates a scarcity of exquisite artwork. Yes, they have a lot of astrolabes, rugs, ceramics, jewelry, and ornamental doors, but they do not have paintings of the human figure. I don't think the Renaissance ever reached the Muslim world, so the individual is underrepresented in this museum.
There is nothing like seeing a Rembrandt in person, only inches away from the cracked layers of century-filled brush strokes. The smirk on his self-portrait as the Apostle Paul (1661) captures his impish ego perfectly. There are more than 40 known painted self-portraits by him as well as dozens more works on paper. Either he was cheap and didn't want to waste money on models or he had a great admiration for his face in the mirror and didn't mind gazing at it for hours on end.
There are a few pieces by Frans Hals (portraits), Balthasar van der Ast and Adriaen van Utrecht (amazing still lifes - complete with animal life), Johannes Vermeer (The Love Letter) and Jan Steen (fun, action shots). Make sure you catch this exhibit before it leaves Doha on June 6. Oh, and if you go on a Monday, entrance to the exhibit is free!
Adriaen van Utrecht's "Still Life, 1644"
Balthasar van der Ast's "Still Life with Flowers"
Jan Steen's "The Merry Family"
Johannes Vermeer's "The Love Letter"