Ancient Dutch Art Masterpiece – Rijks Museum Amsterdam
Rijks Museum Introduction
The Rijksmuseum is one of Amsterdam’s grandest and most popular museums. Its vast collection showcases iconic art and a wide variety of artefacts that reflect more than 800 years of Dutch and global history, including jaw-dropping paintings by the likes of Rembrandt, Van Gogh and countless more Dutch greats.
Visitors to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam can expect much more than just paintings by Dutch Masters from the Golden Age. The museum’s expansive, evocative collection also includes Delftware, sculptures, archaeological artefacts, clothing, Asian art, prints, items from Dutch maritime history and many other culturally significant objects, all combining to vividly explore 800 years of Dutch history within a global context.
*As well as a dazzling permanent collection that can take days to fully enjoy, the Rijksmuseum is open 365 days a year while frequently hosts some of the biggest blockbuster exhibitions in Amsterdam!
1.1) Gallery of Honour
The Gallery of Honour
The Gallery of Honour is an extended corridor directed towards a clear focal point: the Night Watch Gallery. On view in the side, alcoves are masterpieces by the great artists of the seventeenth century.
Framing the alcoves are cast iron beams inscribed with the names of the famous painters of the age. Semi-circular wall sections above display the coats of arms of the eleven provinces of the Netherlands and their respective capital cities.
Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890)
Vincent moved to Paris in 1886, after hearing from his brother Theo about the new, colourful style of French paintings. Wasting no time, he tried it out in several self-portraits. He did this mostly to avoid having to pay for a model. Using rhythmic brushstrokes in striking colours, he portrayed himself here as a fashionably dressed Parisian.
1.2) Night Watch Gallery
Night Watch Gallery
The Night Watch Gallery was specially designed to showcase Rembrandt’s famous civic guard portrait – a painting that has gone down in history as marking the turning point in his career and as the superlative example of his creative genius.
Pianoforte, Paris 1808
King Louis Napolean ordered this sumptuous piano for his musical wife Hortense, who also played the harp and the harpsichord. It was intended for the concert hall at the royal palace in Amsterdam.
The instrument was also a showpiece, made of many costly materials and decorated with gilt-bronze ornament (ormolu). When Louis Napolean abdicated in 1810, he left the piano in the blue salon in the palace.
A Case with Duelling Pistols Jean Le Page (1746-1834)
This case of duelling pistols and case was made in the workshop of Jean Le Page in Paris. Up until the Battle of Waterloo (1815), Le Page was allowed to bear the title “Arquebusier de L’Empereur”. – Gunmaker to Emperor Napolean.
This case comes to the procession of Lieutenant Henry Sagerman of Brussels shortly after the Battle of Waterloo. Sagerman claimed the pistols were found in Napolean’s travel carriage which has been abandoned near the battlefield.
1.3) Middle Ages and Renaissance (1100-1600)
Middle Ages and Renaissance (1100-1600)
The Christian faith was ubiquitous in the early Middle Ages, in a time when art and religion went hand in hand. In the fifteenth century, there was a renewed interest in Classical Antiquity. The Reformation and rise of Humanism subsequently turned the mediaeval worldview on its head.
Saint Ursula and her Hand Maidens (C.1525)
According to the legends, the Christian Princess Ursula and her retinue of 11,000 handmaidens were murdered by Huns near Cologne. This statue depicts her as a well to do women, dressed in the latest fashion of the Renaissance. Some of her companions seek protection under her cloak.
Drinking Horn from the Amsterdam Company of Arquebusiers (1547-1563)
This luxury drinking horn played a prominent role in civic guard ceremonies. The horn was passed around the tables and everyone drank from it. In this way, the militiamen expressed their common bond and unity. The claws in the silver mount are the symbols of Arquebusiers.
Goblet with Covers (1546-1547)
The production of colourless glass was introduced in Antwerp in the 16th century by Venetian glassblowers. This luxury goblet illustrates the high level of craftsmanship in Netherlandish cities. Seated atop of gilded silver cover is wild boar, with a wild unicorn emerging from the underside. With the other figures, these animals symbolize faith, loyalty and purity.
The Nativity (1471-1487)
The style of the Dutch famous sculptor Nicolaas Gerhaert van Leyden is reflected in the painstaking, calligraphic rendering of these figures, with their grace and spatial coherence.
Van Leyden worked in Strasbourg and had a profound influence on Late Gothic Garman Sculpture. The artist who made this beguiling nativity group was probably a pupil of his.
1.4) The 17th Century (1600-1700)
The 17th Century (1600-1700)
More than thirty galleries are devoted to the glory of the Dutch Golden Age when the young merchant republic enjoyed its heyday as a world leader in trade, science and scholarship and the art of war and the fine arts.
Chinese Porcelain (1600-1650)
Chinese potters supplied their wares not only to the Dutch but to other buyers as well. The plates with the bare-bellied monk and the plate with the two people in a river landscape were made for Japanese connoisseurs. The little plates with the horse and the grasshoppers were intended for European customers.
Chest with Nine Porcelain Bottles (1680-1700)
The Dutch East Indian Company maintained good relations with Asian rulers. To promote their commercial interests, they greased palms with presents; globes, paintings, animals, and chests with bottles, like this one.
The expensive aromatic oil in the bottles was the actual gift. The bottles were ordered in Japan and the chest was custom made by joiners in Batavia.
Ship’s Model of Prins Willem
The real Prins Willem left the harbour of Middleburg in 1651 for its maiden voyage to the East Indies. The ship sailed to Batavia (Jakarta) a total of five times before sinking – with no survivors – on its return home in 1662.
The rudders are flanked by a city view of Middelburg, above which are the logo of the Dutch East Indian Company and a portrait of Prince William II.
1.5) The 18th Century (1700-1800)
The 18th Century (1700-1800)
No longer a world power, the Netherlands now invested its profits in possessions such as beautiful houses. In the eighteenth century, the interior became a focus of keen interest. The period was characterized by the refinement and cultivation of good taste. These were manifested particularly in the interior domain, with virtuosic arts and crafts objects and personal portraits.
Cloches (dish covers), coolers, soup tureens, sauceboats, salt cellars, pepper and mustard pots. (1763-1850)
Dante of the Russian Empress commissioned this 140 pieces service, several items of which are displayed here. Silversmith Odiot, the painter Prud’hon and the architect cavalier proudly presented the new models at 1819 French national exhibition of decorative art.
Notable are the kneeling angels supporting the soup tureen, which are the characteristics of late empire style.
Toilet Mirror (1780-1852)
This mirror was the showpiece of an extensive toilet service that the Dutch King William I, ordered as a wedding gift for his daughter, Princess Marianne, who married Prince Albert of Prussia in 1830.
For this magnificent commission in the French Empire style, the King engaged Dutalis, the leading Brussels Goldsmith. The figures are by the sculptor Royer. The set included a jewel coffer, large and smaller gilded boxes and a mirror.
Mantle Clock (1802-1803)
French decorative art was internationally acclaimed at the start of the 19th century. The most important Paris dealer at that time was Lignereux, from whom the English ambassador to France brought this clock. The secretary on which the pendulum stands also came from this dealer. The women leaning with her elbow on a stack of books represents Learning or Science.
1.6) The 19th Century (1800-1900)
The 19th Century (1800-1900)
In the nineteenth century, the Netherlands was established as a kingdom – which it still is today – and witnessed major scientific breakthroughs that led to large-scale modernization. The metre, kilogramme and photography were all introduced in this period. Painting took flight and became increasingly individualistic as the century progressed.
Sea Vase (1850-1903)
The decorations in this vase refer to the sea. Both sides feature fish, inspired by Japanese prints. The handles are infants and around them seaweed and shells. The coloured decorations were produced using an experimental technique in which randomly produced pattern were embellished in the glaze.
Three Decorative Plates (1840-1930)
Theo Colenbrander was the star designer of the porcelain factory Rozenburg in the 80’s. His porcelain plates distinguish themselves for the bold colours and almost abstract floral patterns. Sometimes the overall design is difficult to grasp at once, as the stylized landscape with Middle Eastern architectural motifs. Although Colenbrander’s design didn’t sell well, they highly esteemed in the art world.
Meadow Landscape with Cattle – Willem Roelofs (1822-1897)
Unlike Romantic Painters, Hague school artists had an eye for the beauty of the polder landscape. Instead of the dramatic and varied landscapes of the romantic tradition, they painted cows ruminating tranquillity in verdant meadows with a panoramic horizon.
These works were greatly appreciated and gave rise to the image of the Netherlands as a green, flat polder landscape under a greyish blue sky.
*We are in quite a rush during our visit, as a result, we did miss some of the exhibition section such as Asian Pavilion, Special Collection, Philips Wing, Cuypers Library Rijks Garden. Overall still worth a visit especially for those who love to learn about Dutch history. 😉
Things to know before the visit:
- The entrance for all visitors to the Rijksmuseum is located in the Passage on Museumstraat. There is no separate entrance for groups.
- The information desk is located in the West Atrium. Desk staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
- Section C of the Cloakroom is reserved for checking coats and bags for groups. The Rijksmuseum has a strict security policy. All bags are subject to inspection at the museum entrance. Please take as little baggage as possible with you to the museum in order to avoid obstructions in visitor flow at the entrance.
- Tickets are scanned at the gallery entrance in the West Atrium. To avoid obstructions, please ensure that each group member has his or her own ticket and any discount cards ready for inspection at the ticket checkpoint.
- No time for a full museum visit? Use the Rijksmuseum’s special group lift. This lift takes you straight to the Gallery of Honour with all the 17th-century public favourites by Vermeer, Hals and Rembrandt.
- Guides are permitted to use their own communication systems (e.g. Whisper), provided they do not cause a disturbance to other visitors.
The admission fees for RijksMuseum
- € 19.00
Ages 18 and under
Entrance EYCA card
- € 9.50
*Entrance to Rijksmuseum is absolutely FREE for those who own the I amsterdam City Card (highly recommended to have)!
By Local Bus:
- 197, 129, 301, 170, 346, 172
By Local Train:
- The closest stations to Rijksmuseum are:
- Amsterdam, Ruysdaelkade is 118 meters away, 2 min walk
- Amsterdam, Spiegelgracht is 179 meters away, 3 min walk
- Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum is 224 meters away, 4 min walk
- Amsterdam, Leidseplein is 507 meters away, 7 min walk
- Amsterdam, Weteringcircuit is 510 meters away, 8 min walk
Address: Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX AMSTERDAM.
Open Hour: 09.00 am – 05.00 pm (Mon-Sun)