Europe

We enter the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

The so-called Venice of the North is famous for its beautiful canals and Dutch-style houses. And, in the cultural realm, Amsterdam has some of the most internationally recognized museums. One of the brightest stars is the Rijksmuseum, a visit to which you cannot miss on your trip. Would you like to know this gallery and its collection in greater detail?

Notes on the Rijksmuseum

This building occupies a place of honor on the well-known Museumplein. The other two fundamental museums of the city of Amsterdam are also located in that same space: the Stedelijk Museum and the Van Gogh Museum.

The strategic location of these three great art centers, so close to each other, makes your tour much more comfortable. The Rijksmuseum opens its doors every day, with a general fee of 20 euros.

Following the museum tradition that had begun with the Louvre, this gallery was founded in 1800 and opens to the public on May 31 of that year. The first building he occupied was in The Hague. However, in 1808 it was decided to move the collection to Amsterdam and he changed homes several times. Finally, in 1885 the collection was opened in its current location.

The Rijkmuseum building

The imposing construction that houses the works of the Rijksmuseum bears the signature of the Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers. Besides, its dimensions immediately made it the largest museum in the Netherlands.

Thanks to the use of brick and steel, we can frame the architectural style within nineteenth-century historicism. In addition, its author goes further by developing a neo-gothic building and with Renaissance elements. It is these details that make the Rijskmuseum look so unique and surprising.

Since then, it has gone through several restorations and extensions. Natural light invades most of the rooms, adapting to contemporary demands. But, above all, an attempt has been made to preserve its original spirit.

The main collections of the Rijksmuseum

Currently, the museum houses around 8,000 works of art. Undoubtedly, the most outstanding pieces belong to the Dutch Golden Age. So much so, that the Rijksmuseum has the most notable collection from this period, between the 15th and 17th centuries. Its three great protagonists are Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer and Fran Hals.

Another of the gallery’s essential spaces is the one dedicated to Dutch painting from the 18th and 19th centuries. Equally, has a good collection of pieces belonging to foreign schools. In this case, canvases by Fra Angélico, Rubens and Goya, among others, stand out.

On the other hand, there is a section for decorative arts: Delft ceramics, furniture and dollhouses. Finally, in the Rijksmuseum you can find an important compilation of asian and egyptian art.

We must also mention that 2019 is a very special date to visit this museum. Due to the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death, East has been declared as the ‘Year of Rembrandt’. The celebrations will take place throughout the different months, with numerous exhibitions and activities in honor of the genius.

The great works of the Rijksmuseum

Do you need more reasons to enter the walls of this fabulous museum? We show you some of the works that you will discover during your visitworks that you will not be able to stop admiring.

one. night watchRembrandt’s

Rembrandt is the undisputed sovereign of the museum. The Dutch artist has an extensive repertoire of more than 20 pieces in the Rijksmuseum’s collection, as well as numerous sketches and drawings. One of the great works that deserves all our attention is the spectacular night watch.

Made between 1640 and 1642, this canvas of colossal dimensions is about four meters high and instantly captures our interest. Rembrandt receives the commission from the Corporation of Arquebusiers of Amsterdam and represents a novelty in terms of technique and composition.

The painter seeks dynamism and action, representing the members of the militia in full mission. Is about a wonderful collective portrait in which each character is loaded with connotations. Light and color take center stage thanks to the use of tenebrism, with bold contrasts between darkness and light.

This clarity is represented by the only female figure in the painting, a girl who many identify with Rembrandt’s first wife, Saskia. It is a creation full of symbols and readings that marks a milestone in the history of art.

Other works by this great author accompany us on our tour of the Rijksmuseum, such as the jewish bride either The trustees of the drapers.

two. the milkmaid, by Vermeer

The Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer is another of the museum’s outstanding authors. Due to the short production of this painter, with less than 40 pieces, it is a luxury to be able to contemplate some of his most beautiful creations in the Rijksmuseum. One of those works is the milkmaidmade around 1660.

The 17th century Dutch master leaves us here an exceptional jewel for its beauty and simplicity. We are introduced to a maid totally absorbed in her work, oblivious to everything else. The table with the bowl where she pours the milk constitutes an authentic still life full of details.

In contrast, the rest of the room has a sober look with bare walls. The woman stands completely bathed in light, wearing the deep blue apron so typical of Vermeer. The stillness of the scene, the wonderful use of color, the realism and delicacy in each stroke make this painting a masterpiece.

Other essential canvases signed by this artist that hang in the Rijksmuseum are The letter, The alley or Woman reading a letter.

3. The merry drinker, by Fran Hals

One of the best known creations of the outstanding painter Fran Hals is also one of the fundamental pieces of the Rijksmuseum. Created around 1628, this painting displays all the features that characterize Hals’s work. It is an individual portrait full of light colorsexcept for the dark point provided by the hat.

The happiness and vitality of the character, holding his glass, is absolutely contagious. An aggressive first term is the one used by the artist to present this smiling subject, who seems to go beyond the limits of the painting.

The identity of this man is not known for sure, but freshness and strength are captured thanks to Hals’s brushstroke. On the other hand, some of the most recognized group portraits of him, such as the Company of Captain Reynier Reaelcan also be seen in the wonderful Rijksmuseum.

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