This genre of paintings has much success with the visitors of the Rijksmuseum. There are often funny details to be seen like persons falling on the ice and showing what should not be seen.
One of the specialists of winter landscapes is Hendrik Avercamp. Some of his works are on display in room 2.6
The one on my photo shows on the left a beggar and a man who made a hole in the ice to catch fish.
Other who are better off amuse themselves on the ice riding sleigh or playing "kolf" the ancestor of hockey on ice. Rich ladies on the right wear velvet masks to protect their skin from the cold.
There have been special exhibitions on the Dutch winter landscapes in the Golden Age and the "Winter Painters". The reason for this is not only the attractiveness of these winter landscapes but because in the 17th. century there was a period of extremely cold winters and relatively cold summers in northwestern Europe. This period was called the Little Ice Age. In Holland the waterways so important for the economy were blocked by ice for several weeks. The years around 1600 were the worst in the Little Ice Age with bitterly cold winters and lots of snow.
This explains the large number of winter landscapes often with frozen rivers that reached us.
Next to Avercamp we have ", Essias van de Velde, Aert van der Neer and many others not to forget in the southern Netherlands Pieter Bruegel the Elder with "Hunters in the Snow".
Since hotels ask 20 - 25 € for their breakfast I found a better way to satisfy my - small - appetite when starting a new day. I found this in the museum by looking at these still life paintings called "ontbijtgen" (breakfast) showing bread, fruit, various cheeses more or less old on a table covered with a costly damask tablecloth. This painting is from Floris Claesz van Dijck (pic 1) a specialist of still life paintings.
(I tried to eat something in the museum cafeteria but there was queuing all over the day pic 4).
Other types of still life that flourished in Holland are the so called "Pronkstukken" luxurious still life showing tin, silver, sometimes gold plated beakers, cups, plates, a nautilus shell, Venetian glassware. The objects reflect each other and are posed on precious tissues. These still lifes often showed oysters, crab and a half peeled lemon
Willem Claesz. Heda (pic 2) was a master of these "pronk" still lifes rendering different materials and fabrics and the reflections of light on them.
The other one is from Pieter Claesz. showing a turkey pie (pic 3).
At lunch time I use to stand in front of this Banquet still life by Adriaen van Utrecht. A lobster and some fruit is just what I need.
N.B. the ...z. one find in Dutch names like Pieter Claesz. means "Claeszoon" son of Claes.
The icon of the Rijksmuseum is back in the large room at the end of the Eregalerij. Actually the "Nachtwacht - Night Watch" by Rembrandt van Rijn belongs to the militia paintings genre that are typical and unique for the Netherlands. About 125 such paintings have reached us.
Every citizen could join the civic guard of his city but had to pay his weapon and equipment. They held firing practice in shooting galleries known as 'doelen' (= targets). Each civic guard was named after its weapon. There were crossbowmen and longbowmen, and arquebusiers. The latter carried firearms, the arquebus or 'klover' in Dutch. The group shown by Rembrandt belongs to Amsterdam's district II and are leaving the "Kloversdoelen" the Arquebusiers practice hall for a night patrol, one of their important tasks.
The officers, colonel, provost, captains, lieutenants, ensign-bearers belonged to the higher society and were appointed by the city council for a three year period. At the end of this period a banquet was organized which was also the occasion for a large group portrait called "schutterstuk" in Dutch.
The famous "Night Watch" of Rembrandt is one among many but is unique because it shows a Civic Guard Company moving, marching on, while other such painting are mainly static. Compare with the very large painting (7,5 m) "Officieren en Schutters van Amsterdam VIII" by Bartholomeus van der Elst on the wall on the right of the"Night Watch".
The members of these civic guards had to pay to be portrayed. For the "Night Watch "the price was about 100 Florin per person. In the 17th c. a weaver earned about 200 Florin per year.
Ordinary guardsmen did not appear in a civic guard painting. Having to pay for their own weapons was enough.
My first advice would be that if you can wait some months before visiting the renovated RIJKSMUSEUM - open since 13/04/2013 - do it because the crowds are huge!
I could not wait more to see again, after nearly ten years of works, the full collections; I regret somewhat because the crowd spoiled my pleasure.
Hereafter some practical hints:
1° Buy your tickets on the internet site of the museum and print at home. It will not avoid standing in the line at the entry but you will avoid standing in line at the tickets corner. The ordinary price is 15 €, the reduced price for ING (a Dutch bank) card holder is 7.50 €. The ticket is valid for twelve months. There is no selection of a special day for your visit.
2° There are TWO entrances by revolving doors in the covered gallery under the museum building. You can reach them by the Stadhouderskade (along the canal) or by the Museumplein. At each door there is a guard and some line. As it is possible that the number of visitors might exceed the capacity of the museum it is recommended to go there at the opening at 9.00 h.
This is the warning of the Rijksmuseum:
Please note that it can be very busy in the Rijksmuseum. Museumkaart and e-ticket holders do not have to go to the ticket counter. Nonetheless, you may have to queue outside and at the cloakroom in the Atrium. These queues are for all visitors. The busiest times are Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 11:00 and 15:00, on bank holidays and during the holiday period.
I arrived on a Monday and at 8.50 h and there was already a 100 m line!
3° Once you passed that revolving door (on floor 1) you go down by stairs to floor 0 with entrances to the collections, ticket corners, cloakroom, toilets and café shop (with lines).
Note that baggage bigger than 55 x 35 x 25 cm is not allowed and has to be put in the luggage room.
4° Take immediately the elevator or the stairs to LEVEL 2 where are the icons of the museum in the EREGALERIJ. Try to precede the crowds that will storm the Rembrandt's Nightwatch and the four Vermeer in a room on the left of the Gallery of Honor. You can also come back around 16 h when there are somewhat less visitors pushing each other to see a glimpse of the Vermeer's (the museum closes at 17 h and is open every day of the year).
5° On levels 0 and 1 it is not possible to pass from the left to the right wing collections. I had to go down to level 0 and pass along the WC-toilets! At level 2 with most prestige works of art one can go round. All rooms are marked with a first Nr = level and second Nr = room; for example 2.20 = Dolls' houses.
Now about things to see. The collections concern ARTS AND HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS.
Paintings, works of decorative arts and historical items are now presented in combination while in the old Rijksmuseum they were separated.
All these works are on display in 63 rooms plus 10 of the Gallery of Honour. It is a huge museum. I visited nearly all rooms, staid longer at the best paintings. I started at 9 and left at 16.45 h.
Photos are allowed without flash.
I started to write about the works of art I most liked in the Rijksmuseum. There are many so that it seems impossible for me to limit myself to one comment.
There is no museum in the Netherlands without landscapes and quite logically the Rijksmuseum displays some of the best Dutch landscapes in the rooms of the Eregalerij - Gallery of Honor on floor 2
Landscapes were one of the major themes of the Dutch 17th c. paintings. The Dutch Golden century produced hundred thousands of landscapes of all kinds: river views and seaside landscapes, "green" landscapes often with a cottage under some trees or a river landscape by moonlight (pic 5).
These landscapes were painted not on order but to be sold to anybody who wanted to decorate his interior. Many Dutch families owed such small sized paintings for decoration.
The landscapes are one the reasons why I prefer the Dutch paintings to the Flemish or Italian schools. With the years I got somewhat saturated with religious or mythological subjects. There are none of these subjects among the paintings of the Gouden Eeuw.
I was quite happy to meet again some of the best Dutch landscapes.
First of all the "Molen bij Wijk bij Duurstede" by Jacob van Ruisdael (pic 1). This is probably the world most famous wind mill painting. Here you have united all Dutch landscape elements: lowlands, a river (the Lek) and the grey sky.
I must say that living under that grey rainy sky I prefer the "Rivierlandschap met ruiters" by Aelbert Cuyp (pic 2) a sunlit river landscape. One might think this is an Italian landscape but it is the Rhine near Nijmegen.
Another speciality of Dutch painters was painting church interiors. This is strange and a paradox because many churches in the Northern Netherlands had been stripped of their decoration when the Calvinists took them over from the Catholics.
In the history of the Northern Netherlands this is referred to as "beeldstormers" or iconoclasts (pic 3). After taking away statues, paintings and other decoration elements the walls were just chalked white. Pieter Saenredam specialized in these very sober church interiors (pics 4).
The profusion of arts in the 17 th. c. was not a sui generis phenomena but the result of an extraordinary commercial expansion sustained by maritime power. The Netherlands were one of the three most important sea powers of that time and dominated the world trade.
That was not without wars at sea against England, Spain, and Portugal in which the Dutch Republic won some spectacular victories.
This resulted in an important demand for marine paintings. Several of the best are on display on the museum. Significant for the maritime history is the large room 2.15 called William Rex room after the very large ship model exposed. It is a 72 guns typical Dutch warship of the late 17th c (pic 1).
In that room are on display a number of paintings illustrating Dutch victories against England and Spain.
Very interesting for the marine historians are the "pen paintings" made with pen and ink on canvas by Willem van de Velde I because of all the details. My photo shows part of the Battle of Terheiden (pic 2) in which the Dutch Lieutenant-Admiral Maarten Tromp was killed. The painter was on board of one of the ships.
His son Willem van de Velde II the Younger became one of the best Dutch marine painters. My photos show the "The surrender of the Royal Prince" (pic 3) to Admiral Tromp and one of the most appreciated marine paintings by Willem van de Velde II "Dutch ships in a calm" (pic 4 )
When he went to England to work at the court of Charles II Ludolf Backhuyzen (photo of "Man-of-War Brielle on river Maas" pic 5 ) followed him up with many others.
The museum concentrated in the 8 lateral rooms of the "Eregalerij" Gallery of Honour on Floor 2 the highlights of the "Gouden Eeuw" the Dutch 17th "Golden Century" paintings.
What you see here is just "wonderbaar" superb. The best works of the Rijksmuseum in the various genres of paintings that made the success of the Dutch 17th c. school are on display on the walls of these 8 rooms. The disadvantage is that this part is the most crowded with guided tours blocking the access to the best known works!
Worst is the pushing in front of the four Vermeer's "Brieflezende Vrouw" (pic 1) "Het Melkmeisje", "Het Straatje" (pic 2) and "De Liefdesbrief".
In the same room are several works of Pieter de Hooch, also one of the best in the genre scenes of everyday life a particularly Dutch phenomenon. I much liked that "Moedertaak" (pic 3) a mother inspecting her child’s hair for lice!
The room next is that of Jan Steen, another marvelous genre scenes painter. Astonishing is the "Dansles" (pic 4) showing children who learn a cat to dance. The children are amused, not the cat.
I found back one of my favored works of Jan Steen "De burgemeester van Delft en zijn dochter" (pic 5). Mayor Croeser of Delft is shown giving alms to a poor woman. The odd thing with this painting is that two years later Croeser did stand guarantor for Jan Steen heavily in debt.
THE RIJKSMUSEUM WILL OPEN IN FULL GLORY AT APRIL 13, 2013 (after e decade of renovation).
Opening hours & admission
The Rijksmuseum will be the first national museum in the world to be open to the public 365 days per year. The museum will be open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission will be €15, the museum remains free for children under 19.
In 1885 the Rijksmuseum designed by P.J.H. Cuypers was completed. It's one of the Dutch UNESCO heritage monuments.
The collection has a longer history. The former Dutch Stadtholders started collecting the paintings which got a first home at the Huis ten Bosch in The Hague, called the Nationale Kunst-Galerij in 1800. In 1806 Lodewijk Napoleon became King of Holland and the galery was renamed into Koninklijk Museum.
In 1808 the museum moved to Amsterdam where the collection joined the capital's art collection (with Rembrandt's Nightwatch), The new location was at the upper palace of the Royal Palace at the Dam square.
During WWII most of the collection was moved to caves of the Sint Pietersberg at Maastricht.
On the moment a 10 year renovation program is in progress.
Admission: € 15.00
Daily: 9AM - 5PM
Infocenter (Het Nieuwe Rijksmuseum)
Th-Su: 11AM - 4PM
Library, picture cabinet & study hall
Tu-Sa: 10AM - 5PM
Rijksmuseum branche at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (Transit Area); Free entrance
All week: 7AM - 8PM
As the museum was closed last week and reopened on Saturday April 13th I found interesting to explore their new website in Dutch and English.
It is possible to explore the various collections; there are not only paintings in the Rijksmuseum but many sculptures, furniture and interiors, applied arts, Asian arts, weapons and ship models, fashion and works on paper.
I remember from my visits before the long renovation works I needed two days to see all collections.
"Wonderbaar" with their website is that you can see the representation of the works of art in a large size so that if your screen is wide enough you might see the often small paintings of the Dutch school as they are really hanging on the walls of the museum.
Furthermore the search is quite extended. I could find back a number of my favorites I will be glad to see at my next trip to Amsterdam.
There are 8000 objects on display in 80 rooms. They cover a period of 800 years.
Practical info: from the 14/04 on you can book online your ticket at a normal price of 15 € and reduced at 7,50 €.
Open daily from 9.00 to 17.00 h.
Rijksmuseum is opened by the queen on april 13th 2013
There is a run on the tickets so i think the best way is to book the tickets online.
or buy a museumkaart.
9:00 to 17:00 daily, open 365 days a year
€15: adults aged 19 and over
€7.50: ING card and CJP
Free: children aged 18 and under, Museumkaart holders, members of ICOM, ICOMOS, UNESCO, the Rembrandt Association (Vereniging Rembrandt), KOG, Vrienden van de Aziatische Kunst and Vrienden van het Rijksmuseum
Museumkaart and e-ticket holders do not have to wait in the queue in order to get tickets
The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, set in its historic home designed by P.J.H. Cuypers.
the collection based around the paintings of the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic, the Golden Age, including twenty works by Rembrandt, four by Vermeer and numerous other paintings by artists such as Frans Hals and Jan Steen.
Rembrandt?s Night Watch (nachtwacht) this painting was bigger.
further they have collections of silver, delftware, doll?s houses, prints, drawings, customsthe mysterious Asiatic art and more.
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