Last Saturday I went to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam with my husband and G. Last time I visited this museum was ca 8 years ago. After 10 years of costly renovation Rijksmuseum was reopened last April. The result is amazing!
The painting above is titled Schutters van wijk XI onder leiding van kapitein Reynier Reael (Shooters from neighboourhood XI under command of Captain Reynier Reael). Dutch master, Frans Hals painted this in 1637.
More than Night Watch
Rijksmuseum’s masterpiece is no doubt Rembrandt’s Night Watch. It shows Dutch history in art but it also offers many more. This huge building houses an extensive collection of art works vary from paintings, etches, statues, Delfts Blue porcelain, crystals to furnitures. They are ranged according to the era and style spreaded in 5 floors. I’ll take you along the route I walked then. Ready?
Located in the basement some of the collection is familiar to me like the Buddha’s head from Borobudur temple, Makara statue from East Java & Hindu God Shiva Nataraja (see pic below. G took it).
1100 – 1600
This collection is about bible themed paintings and statues. Here are my picks.
1600 – 1650
The Golden Age! Dutch masters’ works are displayed here in the Gallery of Honor. Enjoy the works of Frans Hals, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Jan Steen etc. in this beautiful and wel lit gallery. Due to the crowd in front of it, I could not take a decent picture of the Night Watch. Instead I took this below to illustrate how crowded there was.
I managed to sneak forward and take this detail pic of Night Watch though.
And I succeeded in snapping Vermeer’s Milk Maid, painted in 1659. The result is so so because of the painting is small and there were too many people wanting to capture it.
Vermeer’s ability to paint diffused light is one of his strong points. In the art world this style is known as Vermeer’s light today. What I admire in this painting is the details. Look closely, you’d see spike holes in the wall. And the subtle shadow on the left at the wall. It blends effortlessly with the rest. Beautiful! If you didn’t know who Vermeer was, he is the painter of The Girl with The Pearl Earring (filmed starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth). This painting is a collection of Mauritshuis in The Hague.
The Threatened Swan from Jan Asselijn painted in 1650 is also the highlight of the top collection. This looks just one ordinary painting but when you see it yourself, it does something to you. At least I had that experience.
This huge painting by Rembrandt’s rival Bartholomeus van der Helst is very wide, my lens couldn’t capture it in full. It is about the celebration of the Treaty of Munster, marking the end of Eighty Year’s War between seventeen provinces in the low lands and Spain. The sitting man in black in the middle looks like French actor, Gerard Depardieu.
This is how the painted gallery looks like.
1650 – 1700
There are Delfts Blue ceramics, ship models, tools, portraits of rich and royal families, Dutch East India Governor Generals. Like this dandy below whose name I forgot.
You know what drew my attention in this painting? Despite his richly decorated costume, the expensive velvet table-cloth is not ironed. The painter painted it so well including the pleats.
These beautiful Delfts blue bottles belonged to a VOC high official. He carried valuable oils in them.
Being Indonesian I was in particular interested in the Dutch East Indies collection.
This one above is a weapon of Jakarta. VOC, Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (Dutch East Indies Company) marked the conquest of the city in 30 May 1631. It changed the city’s name from Jacatra to Jakarta.
1700 – 1800
This collection show art works and furniture from Rococo style which was loved in that era. Too many ornaments and decorations makes the art works seem so heavy. It is not my cup of tea that’s why I didn’t take a picture.
1800 – 1900
Beside the Gallery of Honor, this is also my favorite part. There was a lot going on in that century among others the colony in East Indies and blooming impressionism.
The collection of Javanese High Official is quite impressive. It tells stories about Java War from 1825 – 1830 between the Dutch and Prince Diponegoro. These 5 Javanese men wear different clothes. Each of them carries a keris (Javanese dagger) on their back. Painter is unknown. In the glass box at the front, there is a maquette from a Javanese traditional market. The details are impeccable. I didn’t take the pic as the lamp’s light reflected on the glass.
Here you can also see works of Dutch Impressionists like Vincent van Gogh, George Hendrik Breitner, Isaac Israëls and Anton Mauve.
These are two of Breitner’s works. I love them both!
I love this Little Girl in Kimono by Breitner. It has something voyeurish in it but yet it looks so innocent. The warm color tones are in contrast with the dark shadow at the left side. Breitner paid attention to the kimono. I could almost hear how crisp the fabric was.
And these ones, from Hendrik Willem Mesdag (specialized in sea landscape) are also beautiful.
These two landscapes are typical Dutch. If I am not mistaken they are from Matthijs Maris. The details are amazing. In the right one, at the front there are several dogs visible.
The battle of Waterloo is the biggest painting in Rijksmuseum. It is painted by Jan Willem Pieneman in 1824. We stood 15 minutes before it, reading the detailed information about the massive painting and admiring it.
After nearly 4 hours we ended the tour without looking at the collection of modern art (Piet Mondriaan, Karel Appel & Gerrit Rietveld). I will definitely be back soon!
More pics are available on my Flickr photo album.
Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam
Open: 365 days a year from 9 am – 5 pm
Adults € 15,-
Youth until 18 years free entry
Audio Tour Guide € 5,-
Wardrobe is free
All prices are from October 2013
Photography is allowed without flash and tripod. If you want to take pictures with DSLR, reckon with the dark greyish blue colored wall. It makes the art works look amazing due to the contrast but for photographer it means poor lighting as flash is not allowed.
It is best to visit the museum before 11 am or after 3 pm. The pic below was taken before we went in, around 9.15 am. When we left at 1.30 pm the queue was right there where we stood. You can avoid this by purchasing the ticket online in advance.