Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 210 Reviews

Stadhouderskade 42 +31-20-6747047

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    RIJKSMUSEUM - PRACTICAL INFO.

    by breughel Updated Jul 19, 2013

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    Did you see the Vermeer's ?
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    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.

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    The highlights of the "Gouden Eeuw".

    by breughel Updated Jun 12, 2013

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    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.

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    Winter landscapes.

    by breughel Updated Dec 25, 2013

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    Winter landscapes is a genre of paintings that 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" (KHM in Vienna).

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    The Rijksmuseum

    by codrutz Updated Dec 27, 2004

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    Rijksmuseum

    The Rijksmuseum (National Museum) is the largest museum in Netherlands (largest building, largest collection, largest staff and largest budget).

    Unfortunately for the moment (from December 2003 to 2008) the Rijksmuseum is undergoing the biggest rebuilding and renovation works in its history. For visitors there is only a fraction of the total visit open to the public, and that is called The Masterpieces, offering a unique view on the 17th century grace period of the Netherlands. I've been told by VT member irisbe that most of the exibits were moved for the duration of the renovation works in Antwerp at "Rijksmuseum aan de Schelde" exibition. Thanks for the info Dannie!

    About the building of the Rijksmuseum: It was built in 1885 by the architect P.J.H. Cuypers, in red brick, in the Neo-Gothic style, having more than 260 rooms.

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    Nachtwacht - Night Watch.

    by breughel Updated Oct 15, 2013

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    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 paintings 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.

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    Rijksmuseum - The Masterpieces II - Paintings.

    by breughel Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    Still life by Willem Claesz. Heda

    NEW.
    Eindelijk! Finally! The Rijksmuseum reopens on Apri13, 2013.
    Time for me and all amateurs of Dutch paintings to book a new trip to Amsterdam.

    ======================
    Paintings are on the first floor; only the 17th. c. Golden Age is on display.
    During the works at the Rijksmuseum (until 2013 according to last press news) only a small part of the collections is on display.
    The 15th, 16th and 18th c. paintings have been left aside. Also the 19th. c. Dutch school is stored somewhere what is a real pity because the Romantic school landscapes (Koekoek, Springer) and the excellent Dutch Impressionist Den Haag and Amsterdam schools (Maris, Mauve, Breitner, Israëls) are not shown.

    The favourites are the Rembrandts, the "Night Watch" of course and two more rooms with paintings from him. Frans Hals and Jan Steen are present. My preference goes to the Vermeers and Pieter de Hoogh with his so called "keyhole views".
    Some of the best Dutch Landscapes and Still Life paintings are on display. I always liked the still life with cheeses, a genre which was called "ontbijtgen" (breakfast) as well as the famous still life with gilt goblet from Willem Claesz. Heda.
    (The -sz. found in Dutch names of that time is an abbreviation for -szoon = son of).

    Again remembering my previous visits it seems to me that not more than 25% of the original collection of paintings is now on display.
    It is an opportunity to visit the Amsterdams (Historisch) Museum where there is a good collection of Dutch paintings.

    Open every day from 9:00 to 18:00 h.
    Adults: (2012) € 14.
    18 and under: free. With Museum card : free
    Tickets can be bought online.
    It is not permitted to take photographs or make video recordings or films.

    SPECIAL EXHIBITION: GABRIEL METSU. (now closed).
    From 16 December 2010 to 21 March 2011 thirty five of the best paintings of this Dutch master from the Golden Age are on show at the Rijksmuseum.
    Along with Vermeer, Jan Steen, Gerard ter Borch and Pieter de Hooch, Metsu was one of the leading genre painters of the 17th century. If you like Vermeer don't miss Metsu especially his "Sick Child".

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    New Rijksmuseum to open on April 13, 2013.

    by breughel Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    Works at the Rijksmuseum.

    Eindelijk! Finally! The Rijksmuseum reopens on Apri13, 2013.
    Time for me and all amateurs of Dutch paintings to book a new trip to Amsterdam.

    Presently, since 18/03/2013, the museum is closed.

    =======================
    Amateurs and connoisseurs of Dutch Fine Arts expected the New Rijksmuseum to open in 2009. Then the Dutch press announced that the opening would only be in the summer of 2010!
    "Opening Rijksmuseum weer later
    AMSTERDAM - Het vernieuwde Rijksmuseum gaat pas na de zomer van 2010 open."

    What is on display nowadays " the masterpieces special" is only a small part of the magnificent collections of the Rijksmuseum.

    On a recent visit (ref. my tips hereafter) I visited the "masterpieces" now on display.
    During that visit it was confirmed to me that the new museum would not open before end of 2010, begin 2011, and that is now delayed to 2013!
    Fortunately I visited on several occasions the Rijksmuseum before the works started.

    The present entrance is on the right side of the building.
    There is a fast lane for e-tickets and museum card owners but … as there is only one safety check at the entrance of the building everybody has to follow the same queue.
    I arrived at 9.15 and there was nobody in front of me! The early visitors of 9.00 h were already in and the groups had not yet arrived. Furthermore I was told that Wednesday was a less crowded day.

    Open each day 9 - 18 h.
    Price (2011): free up to 18 yr. From 19 yr : 12,50 €. With Museum card : free
    Tickets can be bought online.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    While waiting a couple of years for the complete reopening of the Rijksmuseum the traveler arriving by air can visit the so called RIJKSMUSEUM SCHIPHOL located inside the airport (Holland Boulevard between Piers E and F in the area beyond passport control). Open daily 6 - 20 h, free.

    From 7 September to 12 December 2011 there is an exhibition of 17th-century portraits of women at the Rijksmuseum Schiphol called "Dutch Girls". The exhibition consists of a small collection of nine well-to-do, leading models from the Golden Age.

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    Rijksmuseum - The Masterpieces I - Ground Floor

    by breughel Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    Model of Dutch

    NEW:
    Eindelijk! Finally! The Rijksmuseum reopens on Apri13, 2013.
    Time for me and all amateurs of Dutch paintings to book a new trip to Amsterdam.

    ===================
    It should be said that during the works at the Rijksmuseum (until 2013 according to last press news) only a small part of the collections is on display. On my previous visits the full collection did take me all the day, now with only 400 pieces the visit took me less than 3 hours.

    On display are only the highlights of the Dutch Golden Age (17th. c.).
    The two first rooms on the ground floor show the history of the Republic of the Seven United Provinces and the growth of the country to a world power thanks to its trade and fleet. As example of this maritime power is a 4 m. long model from 1698 of a 74 gun warship the "William Rex". (photo 1)
    Room 3 shows the famous Doll's Houses, rooms 4 and 5 show silverware and Delftware.
    Remembering my previous visits, what is now on display is less than 20% of the original historic and decorative arts collections.

    Open every day 9 - 18 h.
    Price (2012): free up to 18 yr. From 19 yr : 14 €. With Museum card : free
    Tickets can be bought online.

    It is not permitted to take photographs or make video recordings or films.

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    Delftware in Rijksmuseum

    by codrutz Updated Aug 15, 2004

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    Delft Porcelain Violin

    From the nearby city of Delft, where the famous blue porcelain pottery factories are, the Room #5 in the actual Masterpiece exibition of the Rijksmuseum, I was impressed by this porcelain violin (see picture).

    In fact, it is not a real musical instrument, the violin is purely ornamental, but what a beauty. Dated arround 1705-1710, the design on the front of the violin shows a ballroom and a gallery in which the musicians are playing their instruments. The scene on the reverse in set in a tavern.

    Beside this violin you can find in the Delftware collection of Rijksmuseum other big pieces of pottery, ones like painted carpets, but made of porcelain.

    Tip: For more porcelain and to visit a real factory, you must visit the actual Delft city

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    Rembrandt van Rijn

    by codrutz Written Aug 15, 2004

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    Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn is certainly the most famous 17th century painter of Holland. He was born in 1606 in Leiden and died in 1669, after building up considerable debts. He's body is buried in Amsterdam's Westerkerk.

    In Amsterdam you can also find Rembrandt's House (Rembrandtshuis), the house in which Rembrandt lived and worked from 1639 till 1658.

    The picture shows the 1631 masterpiece of Rembrandt - The Prophetess Anna (known as "Rembrandt's Mother). Like all the paints of Rembrandt, the main style feature is the light coming from behind her, touching her oriental dress and bringing into attention the hand of the old lady.

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    Hundred thousands of landscapes.

    by breughel Updated May 12, 2013

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    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).

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    Rijksmuseum - Stars of the Show

    by nicolaitan Updated Feb 9, 2013

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    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.

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    Dutch Maritime Power.

    by breughel Updated Dec 25, 2013

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    William Rex ship model.
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    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.

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    Dutch Masters at the Rijksmuseum

    by JetlagCity Updated Jun 12, 2004

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    Rembrandt's The Night Watch

    My first "Must See" tip here has to be the Rijksmuseum. Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals are the most exciting painters on view (for me, anyway), plus there's Delftware and doll houses. It was great to experience these paintings with my own eyes. The Vermeers especially were a real treat! Right now the museum is mostly closed for major renovations through 2008, but they've kept one wing open during this long process, and it's filled with Dutch masterpieces from the 17th century.

    BONUS - this museum allows you to take pictures inside, without flash (of course). If only every museum did this! : )

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    Rijksmuseum III - Beautiful child portrait.

    by breughel Updated Jan 23, 2011

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    Girl dressed in Blue
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    I discovered this portrait from Johannes Cornelsz. Verspronck "Portrait of a Girl dressed in Blue" (1641) at my first visit at the Rijksmuseum at the beginning of the nineties.
    I got very much impressed by her gentle somewhat melancholic smile.
    This girl about ten years old must be of a wealthy family according to her dress and jewels. It should be noted that in that time children were considered as mini adults and girls dressed like adult women.

    J. Verspronck, as always in his portraits, painted with a perfect depiction of the tissues and the details. Look at the very fine blond hair of the girl, the dark blue eyes and the red cheeks.
    I always found that this portrait expressed much tenderness and emotion.
    I don't know who she is. This wonderful portrait hangs in room 7.

    When I saw that the museum curator had chosen a large reproduction of my favoured portrait of a "Girl dressed in Blue" to hang on the façade of the Rijksmuseum building I felt very pleased.

    Adults: € 12,50.
    18 and under: free. With Museum card : free
    Tickets can be bought online.
    Open every day from 9:00 to 18:00 h.
    It is not permitted to take photographs or make video recordings or films.

    SPECIAL EXHIBITION: GABRIEL METSU.
    From 16 December 2010 to 21 March 2011 thirty five of the best paintings of this Dutch master from the Golden Age are on show at the Rijksmuseum.
    Along with Vermeer, Jan Steen, Gerard ter Borch and Pieter de Hooch, Metsu was one of the leading genre painters of the 17th century. If you like Vermeer don't miss Metsu especially his "Sick Child".

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