No surprise - even a limited tour of the Rijksmuseum collection is dominated by the works of Rembrandt van Rijn ( 1606-69 ), considered the greatest of Dutch painters and one of Europe's finest. A renowned portait artist, early successes brought fame, money, and a large studio of fellow artists and students. Sadly, he was also a bit eccentric and lived well beyond his income in a large house near the Jewish district - his later years were filled with the sadness of losing a wife and several children, financial issues, and ultimate bankruptcy. His most famous works include portraits of individuals and groups, biblical themes, and most remarkably a large number of self portraits which offer an autobiography in oil of his life from young and exuberant to older and worldwise. While much of his technique is considered exceptional, his use of darkness and light has always been of personal interest, no better displayed than "The Abduction of Persephone ", the lead image on my berlin review of the Gemaldegallerie.
The Company of Frans Banning Cocq - Night Watch -arguably Rembrandt's most famous work, including on the introduction page for Amsterdam, a group portrait of a company of Civic Guards. What distinguishes this group portrait from so many others is the implied mobility of the subjects, rather than just sitting still and posed, a synonym for Amsterdam in the Golden Age. There are a few strange features, notably the girl with the chicken and a dwarf - shown in as much detail as the leading figures. Rembrandt was nothing if not a little strange - featuring minor figures like these would eventually lead to a significant loss of popularity and commissions.
Image 1 - Made famous as the face of Dutch Master cigars, the Syndics of the Amsterdam Drapers' Guild was painted in 1662, late in Rembrandt's career, but one of his many masterful group portraits.
Image 2 - The Young Rembrandt - a curly headed young hippie, already experimenting with dark and light in his paintings.
Image 3 - Self Portrait as the Apostle Paul - 1661 - an older wiser man resigned to fate, the end of an autobiography.
Image 4 - Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem - 1630 - hardly a painting intended for a big sale price, this sad work depicts Jeremiah who predicted the sack of Jerusalem following the destruction of the city by the Babylonians. The chaos is in the background, the attention is to the old man slumped in defeat and despair in the forefront. The face tells it all - take a few extra seconds to appreciate this work.
Image 5 - Isaac and Rebecca, aka The Jewish Bride (1667) - Rembrandt lived in the Jewish Quarter but there is actually no proof that this loving couple is named Isaac and Rebecca or that they are even Jewish. A touching portrait of a loving couple set against a typical dark gloomy background.
Considering that the offerings filled only a dozen or so rooms, there were certainly a host of superstars to from which to choose - Hals, Steen, lots of Rembrandt, Avercamp, and of course Vermeer ( only two of the museum's four pieces were displayed ). World class museum, make no mistake.
The Milkmaid - Johannes Vermeer - a superficially simple painting of a kitchen maid pouring milk into a Dutch Oven is, as is so often the case with Vermeer, filled with subtleties of sexuality, from the wide orifice of the oven to the cupid figures on the tiles near the floor to the footwarmer ( a symbol of female sexual arousal ). As always, the exquisite use of lighting and the stolid hardworking demeanor of the subject are pure Vermeer. Far more on one of my favorites on the Delft page and the Vermeer Center.
Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters - Hendrick Avercamp - the master of winter landscapes during the Dutch Golden Age pays homage to the Flemish master Pieter Breughel. Indeed, on first glimpse, Breughel came immeditely to mind. The scene stretches into the distance, filled with skaters but also with scattered humorous insets. Careful attention and preknowledge will show one skater face down on the snow, another urinating, and of to the side a couple in amorous embrace seen through a window. A bird trap is identical to one depicted by Breughel and the brewery bears the coat of arms of Antwerp. Paintings like this equalize the members of society - amongst the skaters are those at work - fishermen, a reed cutter, a beggar. Somewhere in here is a bare bum - look closely.
Marriage Portrait of Isaac Massa and Beatrix van der Laen - Frans Hals - a premier portrait painter of the Golden Age was another Dutch painter who revolutionized his genre - here the usually formal portraits, often done as doubles, become a single informally posed painting filled with symbolism. Her hand with wedding ring on his shoulder, his hand over his heart, the smiles, love birds in the background. Hals did only portraits, no landscapes. The background scenery in his paintings was all subcontracted.
The Merry Drinker - Frans Hals - the loosely structured style of Hals, felt by many to be the best portrait painter of the Golden Age, features a bon vivant glass in the left hand and expressive open right hand, offers an example of portraiture of the less than upper class. As with the more famous Gypsy Girl, his loose coarse brushstroke style reflects his painting style in the later years.
Banquet in Celebration of the Treaty of Munster - Bartholomew van der Helst - this large painting is the first in the miniature tour, occupying a place of honor as one of the most important events in Dutch history. By this treaty with Spain, the United Netherlands became independent of Spain and started on the road to world economic dominance, bringing an end to the Eighty Years War. Here, a group of guards celebrate with food and drink the end of hostilities. van der Helst was a competent painter, his detail structured and his faces accurately rendered, but without the genius of other portrait painters of the era with their more inventive use of color and innovative technique.
Offering only a small selection from the museum's huge collection has its plusses and minuses. Less famous and well known pieces are not on display so there are less surprises and unanticipated discoveries. Certainly the Asian fine art collection and the antique pieces receive short shrift. But - having all the most famous works distilled to the nth means that missing really important works are art is less likely to happen. Fortunately, the few rooms are set up so that each features one famous artist or painting - by following the arrows, one gets to see all the works for which one visits the Rijksmuseum. very time efficient.
We were most impressed with the doll houses dating to the 17th C, providing insight into the furnishings and lifestyles of the rich and famous. Wealthy women created these replicas as a pastime, emphasizing exact scale to size and using only the finest of materials and furnishings, created by local craftsmen like silversmiths, artists, cabinet makers etc. The most famous belonged to a Petronella Oortman who imported the porcelain miniature pieces from China ( images 1,2 ). The doll house in image 3 belonged to Petronella Dunois, most famous for exceptional miniature silverware. Doll houses were an extremely expensive hobby - the superior examples were equivalent in cost to a full size house.
Images 4 and 5 feature Asian art - fine imported Chinese pieces. These are included in a treasury room with some fine gold and silver pieces similar to treasuries throughout Europe.
The State Museum of The Netherlands is housed in a huge lavishly decorated brick building backing on the Museumplein, with both Gothic and Renaissance features and highlighted by towers and turrets. Originally housed in The Hague, the museum was moved to Amsterdam by King Louis Bonaparte and combined with the Amsterdam city collection ( including the Night Watch ) to create a world class attraction. The museum moved around until the construction of the current building in the 1870's to the design of architect Pierre Cuypers. The exterior is covered with gold decorations, friezes, and the most remarkable drain spouts for the gutters ( image 2 ). The current collection numbers over 1 million pieces strongest in Dutch Masters of the Golden Age, Asian art, and historical Dutch antiques.
Over the years there have been multiple minor renovations. The museum has now been closed for ten years for a major restoration and renovation re opening in 2013. The new design is by Spanish architects. During this period, the Phillips Wing has remained open with a show comprising 400 of the most spectacular artwork in the massive library. The exterior of this wing is pictured. The Phillips Wing is actually more convenient to the tram stop ( trams 2,5 at Hobbesmastraat ) than the traditional main entrance with the long waiting line at least passing through a garden with fountains.
Almost every time I have visited I Amsterdam my paths are leading to Riksmuseum. Last time (sring 2012) there were some renovations ongoing so it was only partially open, but the reason why I get back and again back is Rembrandt and his amazing Night Watch. First time I saw it, it was close after it was restaurated after knife-attack, I thaught that time is stopping when I stand in front of this painting. There are so many details, you find something more everytime and it happened again in my last visit, time stopped and got wings, you know.
There has been a lot of discussions about change of the painting's lightning. I am happy that I saw it in those old bulb light, I vote for old ones, the light of the led lamps is heavier and some details fade to the painting. :) Trust me, or we can think the first time is always the first time! We'll see again.
There are a lot of other also, after Mr. van Rijn I liked most the Delft blue ceramics.
No flash, but luckily photographing is allowed.
The Museum was founded in 1800 in The Hague to exhibit collections of the Dutch Stadtholders.It was inspired by French example.By then it was known as the National Art Gallery(Nationale Kunst-Gallerij).In 1808 the museum moved to Amsterdam on the orders of King louis Boneparte,brother of Napolean.The paintings owned by that city became part of the collection.
Many famous paintings can found here such as 'Rembrandts''The Night Watch' and 'Vermeers'The Milkmaid'as well as other well known art and many sculptures and fine exhibits from the Dutch Golden Age.As of Winter/Spring 2012 the museum is undergoing some extensive restoration so some of the areas are closed off to the public and main entrance has been moved to a tempory site on the east of the building.There is also a really good gift shop.Photos are allowed but no flash.
Prices:14 Euros per Adult,under 18's are free,opening times:everyday-9.00 till 18.00.
The Rijksmuseum (State Museum) is a Dutch national museum, located on the Museumplein. The museum is dedicated to arts, crafts, and history. It has a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age.
The paintings collection includes works by artists Jacob van Ruysdael, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen and Rembrandt and Rembrandt's pupils.
Rijksmuseum, The Masterpieces
Every day from 9:00 to 18:00
Closed: 1 January
On 25 December the museum closes at 18.00
Please note: the museum ticket counter closes at 17:30!
Adults: € 14
18 and under: free
New: buy your tickets online and print your own e-ticket!
You can watch my 2 min 14 sec Video Amsterdam Rijksmuseum Rembrandt out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
If you can see just one museum in Amsterdam, this is the one. The Rijksmuseum is the largest repository of art in the Netherlands and has a particularly expansive and valuable collection by Dutch painters including at least 20 paintings and additional sketches by Rembrandt van Rijn. Those alone are worth the ticket price but my favorites are the few Vermeers: four of only 35 that exist in the world.
The million-item collection is housed in an impressive late-19th century structure built specifically for this purpose and which was, unfortunately, undergoing massive renovation. Only one wing was open to visitors, and only a selection of the most important works on display; the overhaul had been going on since 2003 and isn't expected to be completed until 2013. The line at the temporary entrance was long and the group behind us was complaining that their I Amsterdam Passes (we didn't have) evidently didn't provide for skipping but I'm not sure that was the case although I didn't see a queue for ticket/pass-holders. The most lovely of the four Vermeers was disappointingly out on loan but I really enjoy others of the Golden Age Dutch artists so while our visit was much shorter than I'd wished, the abbreviated collection was rich in the best of those.
The museum is open every day during construction from 9:00 to 18:00, and is best visited during the week as gallery space is somewhat limited until renovation is complete. Entry fees as of this writing are €12,50 for ages 19 and over, free for ages 18 and under, and there are no student/senior discounts.
You must check coats, large bags, backpacks, umbrellas, and large prams. Smaller baby strollers are OK but not backpack-type carriers for infants.
Entry involves a security check: metal detector and inspection of bags/purses.
Sadly, photography/filming is not allowed.
See the website for the most current info on the renovation, entry fees and hours, accessibility, etc.
“Practice what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know.”
— Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)
Meaning State Museum in Dutch, the Rijksmuseum is the Netherland’s national museum located on Amsterdam’s Museumplein. Dedicated to arts, crafts, and history, the main draw is its large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age.
Founded in 1800 in The Hague, the museum originally exhibited the collections of the Dutch stadtholders. The museum was inspired by France’s Louvre, and was known as the National Art Gallery. Napoleon appointed his brother Louis king of Holland; and in 1808 King Louis ordered that the museum move to Amsterdam. At this time Amsterdam’s paintings, including Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, became part of the museum’s collection.
The museum, designed by Pierre Cuypers, was opened 13.July.1885, following nine years of construction. Combining Gothic and Renaissance elements, Cuypers’s design was selected from among entries to a design competition in 1876. A different design competition was held to decorate both the interior and the exterior of the new museum. Georg Sturm (1855-1923) designed the tile tableaux on the Rijksmuseum’s façade, including Famous Visitors to Amsterdam (see photo #3). Bart van Hove and François Vermeylen were chosen to create the building’s sculptural decoration (see photo #4).
From 2003 to 2013 the museum underwent a major renovation.
UPDATE: Renovation work on the Rijksmuseum has been halted as the original contractor gave up. There is a small portion of the collection on exhibit, including fascinating historical material and the expected Rembrandts and Vermeers. The good news is that they are charging a reduced fee and what is on show is easily done with out having museum exhaustion set in.
The main museum in the Netherlands has much more than the Rembrandts and Vermeers that we all go to see. But to be honest -- in the limited time we had, that's what I saw! The museum had been smartly renovated since my long ago trip -- the pictures were exhibited well and the arrangement of rooms was well marked.
Rembrandt picture is from WebMuseum: http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/
Amsterdam's National Museum or RIJKSMUSEUM has a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age and a substantial collection of Asian Art. Founded in 1800 in The Hague, but in 1808 the Museum moved to Amsterdam.
The Museum contains paintings by Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen.
Open Monday - Thursday & Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Tickets may be purchased on line
The Rijksmuseum houses the largest collection of art and history in the Netherlands of the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic, the Golden Age, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and numerous other paintings by artists such as Frans Hals and Jan Steen. The collection also includes silver objects, delftware, doll houses, prints, drawings, the mysterious Asiatic art and a recent completely renovated presentation on Dutch history.
Here's an example of the fine tile work on the wall below the gabled portion of the museum's roof. Sorry, but it's not very clear in this picture. Trust me, it's fine work!
Gabled roofs of many shapes and sizes are a common feature throughout Amsterdam and the entire region.
Johannes Vermeer was a master in interpreting light and shadow in his paintings. This painting, known as The Kitchen Maid, is an example of one of Vermeer's genre pieces, which depict people in their everyday surroundings: at home, in a café or at work.
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn is without a doubt the most famous of Holland's seventeenth-century painters, and The Night Watch is the most famous painting in the Rijksmuseum. The picture is a huge group portrait of a division of the civic guard. What’s distinct about this and other of his paintings is that the subjects are captured as they move into action and not simply sitting in a neat row.