Rijksmuseum, National Museum (Amsterdam) Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam)
The Rijksmuseum (State Museum) in Amsterdam has existed for over two hundred years and is now one of the most interesting museums in the world. The very first exposition of the museum was opened to the public in 1800 (at that time the museum was called the Nationale Kunstgallerij – National Art Gallery). Since then it has moved several times before in Amsterdam, in 1808, by order of the Dutch King Louis Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother, was built its own museum building, at that time called the Royal Museum. It received its modern name later, in 1815, by a special decree of King William I. In 1885 the State Museum moved into a beautiful building, built by the Dutch architect Petrus Cuypers JH, in the then fashionable Neo-Renaissance style.
The museum’s unique collection, accumulated over the centuries, contains many masterpieces of Dutch and world art. You can see the magnificent ‘Night Watch’ by Rembrandt, several paintings by Vermeer, Van Dyck and Jan Steen. The museum has a rare in its importance collection of Asian art, an extensive collection of prints, drawings and classical photography.
The main building of the museum is currently under renovation, which will be completed in spring 2013. All of the most important paintings from the museum’s collection can be seen in the exhibition open in the renovated wing of the museum on the corner of Jan Luijkenstraat and Hobbemastraat, which was opened in 1996.
Filming and photographing is not permitted inside the museum. Tickets can be purchased in advance, even several months in advance, through the official museum website.
A small exhibition of paintings from the Rijksmuseum collection works in the Schiphol terminal in Amsterdam. You can visit it after passing through passport control. Admission is free.
National Museum of the Netherlands – Rijksmuseum
In the famous Dutch Rijksmuseum, in the same room next door are works by Schorel and portraits created by his pupil Martin Van Heemskerck. The portrait depicts a wealthy merchant from Amsterdam, Peter Bicker, with his 26-year-old wife Anne Codde.
It is one of the most beautiful portraits ever painted in Holland. The young woman, dressed according to the fashion of the time, is shown beside a spinning wheel and holding lightly the finest white thread with her delicate fingers. In the first third of the 16th century, such a wheel-driven spinning wheel was the latest invention and was very rare and found only in the homes of rich townspeople who occupied a fairly high social status. The record goes on to say that the portrait was made in 1529, when Dirk Jacobs and Cornelis Tenissen were making the famous group portraits of members of the Rifle Guild. It is worth noting that these portraits were very distinctive at the time.
There was a strong cultural connection between the northern and southern provinces in the 16th century. This is evidenced by the work of Pieter Aertsen, born in Amsterdam. Even as a young man, he moved to the major city of Antwerp in Flanders, where he became widely known as the founder of the genre of everyday life in Europe. Later he returned to his homeland and continued his work in the realist direction. In the Rijksmuseum there is a fragment of the painting The Adoration of the Shepherds. In the expositions of the museum several more paintings of Artsen, including “The Dance among the Eggs”. This is a typical domestic scene from rural life. In the village inn, in front of the burning hearth, a skinny kid is dancing. Egg shells, oyster shells and wilted wildflowers are scattered around. Another jolly fellow holds a wineglass in one hand and rests the other on the shoulder of a young maid. From the look of him, you can understand that he is loudly singing a merry song. The painting was written to glorify the joy of peasant life, but the modest surroundings of the tavern visitors, the stiffness in their movements, does not allow us to feel it. There is some tension in this cheerfulness. Only the girl, probably copied from nature, shows her spontaneity and naturalness.
Artsen’s work was a novelty: in European countries no one had yet attempted to paint a picture on the subject of peasant life and the poor, but after a short time he had followers. One of them, his pupil Joachim Beukelaar (1543 – 1573) from Antwerp. The Rijksmuseum has a large painting of his work called The Kitchen. A small room depicts a scene from the Gospels. But the main theme is a huge still life that fills almost the entire canvas. Above the table hangs sausages, chickens and turkeys. A couple of beautiful slender maids, probably painted from the same model, are reminiscent of Artsen’s heroines.
Thus, in the Dutch art of the 16th century new genres associated with the depiction of various aspects of life were born: domestic scenes, still life, landscape. In the XVII century they reached the peak of their prosperity. And at this time art is divided into two parts. The different historical development of the two parts of the Netherlands at that time leads to the formation of two different art schools.
In the seventeenth century the work of Hendrik Averkamp was popular, specializing in finely painted small-scale drawings of the winter landscape with small human figures. There are peasants and fashionable dapper women. Some are perfectly situated on the bluish, sparkling ice, while others have fallen. The beauty of winter nature appears to viewers in all its glory. The painting combines the genre of life and landscape.
Esias Van de Velde’s small painting, Society in the Park, evokes the same feelings. It is an ordinary life devoid of any vivid events. Joyful, fashionably dressed young people are having a feast in the middle of a beautiful park. Velde pays great attention to the reproduction of the dishes, the greenery of the bushes, everything that makes life more beautiful. Velde worked in Harlem with the most important Dutch painter of the era, Frans Hals.
The painting of the seventeenth century is characterized by a peculiar realism. Painters strive to poetize the world around them. They depict certain objects, achieving in this virtuosity. Some paint the sea, others the expanse of fields, others domestic utensils, buildings or rural gatherings.
Masters tried to comprehend the peculiar charm of everyday objects. People with an idea of the history of Dutch painting, visiting the museum, will recognize the paintings.
Mostly the sea and ships were painted here, which is quite natural for a coastal state, in the life of which fishing and travel play a big role. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the small state of the Netherlands was a powerful power, and its well-being was largely based on trade with distant countries.
The ancestor of Marinism was Hendrik Vrom. His large canvas in the Rijksmuseum shows a maritime squadron sailing to the East Indies in 1598. At the center of the painting is a “portrait” of the flagship of the squadron, the Mauritius, which is executed with great accuracy. Vrom may have achieved this accuracy because he was a sailor in his youth and later accepted numerous commissions from sailors and shipowners. Artists in Holland did not limit themselves to exact copying. Credibility is always highly valued, but the tasks of painting are somewhat different. This is not a photograph: the artist introduces his own understanding of the beauty of nature, his love for mountains and fields, the brackish sea breeze, the clouds in the sky which are constantly changing their position.
Van Goyen is known for his small painting “View of Dordrecht”. A cathedral with a tower under construction and the wings of dozens of windmills towers over one of the ancient towns. The town itself seems to be shifting in an air shrouded in a misty haze. This magic of evening illumination on the water surface is mesmerizing. Gayen lowers the horizon and the firmament occupies about eighty percent of the painting’s area, making it appear infinitely high. The mobility of the clouds is unparalleled on the canvas. The air, which seems to envelop all the objects depicted, is the most remarkable achievement of Dutch landscape painters.
A special place in the paintings of this period belongs to the image of animals. There are painters-animalists who beautifully painted landscapes. The most talented of them, who passed away at the age of 29 years, Paul Potter. The museum displays his small painting “Horses in the Pasture,” which evokes the idea of the vast expanse of fields. In the slender stallion Potter saw the perfection of nature.
Jan Asselain created a large canvas, “The Swan in Peril.” The snow-white swan, protecting his nest and offspring, arched his beautiful neck and beats his wings with such force that the feathers around him fly away. Next to him, you can see the head of a swimming dog. A few years later, the owner of the painting commanded an explanation to be written on a plaque at the bottom of the painting. Many speculated that the swan represented Jan de Witt, who was practically the head of state. Thus, the bird scene, turned into an illuminating political allegory. “The Swan in Peril” was the first painting acquired in 1800 for the National Gallery of Art.
The Rijksmuseum houses a large collection of paintings by the great Rembrandt. At the end of the 19th century there were such major works by him as The Night Watch, The Jewish Bride and others. But the total number of his works was small. At the end of the last century, this collection was supplemented and expanded. Several canvases were purchased or received as gifts. Some canvases were given to the museum for exhibition. For example, “Blind Tovit and Anna with a goat.” Nearby are the works of Rembrandt’s students.
In Amsterdam, not far from the “Rembrandt House” is the magnificent mansion of the rich man Jan Sieks. The descendants of Jan Sicks cherish the famous portrait of their ancestor painted by Rembrandt in 1654. The black fedora blends beautifully with the reddish hair, and the dark camisole with the bright blue cloak. The unusual breadth of the stroke seemed strange in those days, and the work unfinished. Sicks probably had a broad view of art to appreciate the perfection of this pictorial sketch.
In the painting, Six is preparing to leave the house; he has already thrown on his cloak. But all of his actions are automatic, as his calm face expresses thoughtfulness and a kind of detachment. In this painting, one can see the huge range of diverse painting techniques that Rembrandt uses with talent.
When visiting the Dutch capital, tourists most often think of the red light street. However, here you can see and more worthy places. For example, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Unique masterpieces, reasonable ticket price, easy way how to get there make this gallery a place of pilgrimage for millions of tourists from all corners of the world.
Why visit the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam?
The richest, the largest in the Netherlands, the most visited museum – all these epithets perfectly describe the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. It is often compared to the famous Louvre and has the largest collection of Dutch Golden Age artists.
The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam attracts all kinds of visitors, from art lovers and aspiring artists who peer closely at the paintings of the great masters for that elusive spark of talent, to ordinary people who are just curious to visit a classy place. People often come here with friends and lovers, couples and families.
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam has over 200 halls where you can see not only magnificent paintings by masters of brush and paint, but also a collection of antique furniture, sculptures, porcelain and silver.
There are about 500 statues and statuettes of Buddha in the halls of Asian art.
There is a magnificent collection of unique prints and photographs, arts and crafts.
In the square near the north wing is an exhibition of sculpture, and the complex itself is equipped with an interactive system that allows you to quickly view the entire exhibition.
All in all, the Reichsmuseum Amsterdam, whose masterpieces are so diverse, will be of interest to every traveler. Not for nothing it is visited by more than 4 million visitors a year. And the gallery itself is one of the top 20 most visited museums in the world.
History of the Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam began its history in 1800 when the financier Alexander Haurel decided to create in his native country a museum similar to the Louvre or even eclipsing it. Originally, such a museum, (then called the National Art Gallery), appeared in The Hague, and paintings and things belonging to the Habsburg dynasty were exhibited here. However, after 8 years, the reigning King of the Netherlands (incidentally, the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte), ordered to move the exhibition to the capital of the country. At first it was located in the royal palace.
After a few years, the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, whose exposition was steadily expanding with the exhibits of the royal family and the masterpieces acquired by it, demanded new premises. So in 1817, the museum moved to a new building (now owned by the Royal Academy of Sciences), but its premises soon became insufficient.
In 1863, the exhibition finally outgrew its size. The announced contest for the most beautiful building attracted many famous and unknown architects, but a specially created commission consistently rejected variant after variant.
And only in 1876 the solution that suited absolutely everyone was found. Architect Petrus Kuipers began to create a unique building, which combines several styles. The progressive views of the gallery founder allowed to combine the Renaissance and Gothic, spicing up this grandeur with elements of the Renaissance.
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam is decorated inside with exquisite tiles, stained glass, paintings. All this opulence is in the traditional Dutch style and was entirely in keeping with the tastes of the Catholic majority.
However, the reigning King of Holland at the time remains dissatisfied with the erected building, and the museum is constantly being rebuilt and modernized.
Five years after its opening, in 1890, an addition was made to the building, where fragments of old buildings and structures were displayed.
And 1906 was the year of opening of the Single Painting Hall in the history of Rijksmuseum. Only Rembrandt’s most famous work, The Night Watch, is on display here.
Already in our century, the museum carried out a large-scale restoration, in the course of which unnecessary overlaps between individual courtyards were removed and the rooms were restored to their former appearance.
Famous paintings of the Rijksmuseum
The museum is famous for its masterpieces, but the collection of paintings and, above all, “Night Watch” attracts the most attention. The painting was commissioned by the Dutch Rifle Society. Interestingly, the canvas was not to the liking of the client, the society long refused to pay for the work. And when an agreement on payment was reached, the painting was cut to fit in the banquet hall. Ages of soot from torches and food had done their work, the bright colors had faded, the details of the image became poorly distinguishable.
The restoration was barely able to remove the soot layer on the painting, so modern connoisseurs can only guess at the original appearance of the canvas.
Nevertheless, the most famous painting by Rembrandt attracts the most visitors to the gallery. Paintings that still fascinate tourists can be listed for a very long time. They are “The Jewish Bride” by the same author, “The Milk Woman” and “The Little Street” by Jan Vermeer, “The Bridge in Amsterdam” by Breitner, “Portrait of Ramon Satue” by Goya, “Kimon and Quill” by Rubens, “Madonna and Child” by Murillo.
Russian avant-garde painters, Italian, French and Spanish artists have found their place in the halls of the gallery.
Children, and adults as well, are always attracted by the miniature mansion of a wealthy Dutchman, made in the smallest detail, as well as a real battleship.
And this is not a complete list of beautiful masterpieces, which carefully preserved State Museum in the capital of the Netherlands.
Tips for the tourist
Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam – quite a popular gallery. Every day thousands of tourists dream to get here, so the queue at the ticket office will have to stand for quite a long time. But there is an opportunity to visit the Reichsmuseum Amsterdam to buy tickets online. This will save time for the advanced tourist.
But there are still many people who want to see the museum, so it is better to visit this place before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m. The rest of the time you have to stand and at the entrance to the museum.
In the lobby you can get free museum brochures. There are also in Russian. A detailed plan will help you better navigate in the building and get exactly where you want to go.
You can buy an audio guide or order a tour. You can charge your phone on the ground floor. By the way, you can take photos on the phone, but without a flash. But with a professional camera can be difficult.
Excursions to the Rijkmuseum
You can visit the Rijkmuseum on your own or with a guide. Art historian guide will tell you about the Dutch artists and the peculiarities of their paintings. The most interesting tours:
Ticket price to the Rijksmuseum
The cost of a visit is better to find out on the official website of the Reichsmuseum Amsterdam. Ticket for an adult costs 20 euros, children under 18 years are free. Audio guide can be purchased for 5 euros, but you can download it for free from the Internet.
Address of the Rijksmuseum
The gallery is located at Museumstraat 1. It is difficult to walk past it, the building covers an entire block.
Rijksmuseum opening hours
The gallery is open daily from 9 to 17. Weekends and holidays are not available. The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam is open even during New Year’s holidays, when all other people are resting.
How to get to the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
The Hop-on-Hopp-off water cab stops next to the museum, bus #397 runs from the airport, and streetcars 2 or 12 run from the train station.
Where is the Rijksmuseum on the map of Amsterdam
View the location of the Rijksmuseum on the map of Amsterdam below.
Such is the unique gallery of the Netherlands, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Beautiful masterpieces of the exhibition complex, the price of the ticket to which is quite affordable, as well as simple options on how to get there will make a visit to this collection of treasures an unforgettable experience