KathyBou’s Blog

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Archive for November 13th, 2008

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

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Since we are in Europe, we have to go see Europe, right?

We got really lucky and had the chance to visit with my boyfriend’s family in September.  Since my family probably won’t make it over to see us while we are here, I really enjoy the extended family feeling I get when his parents are around.  And I know he loved the chance to spend time with them.

Ever since we’ve been in Germany I’ve been wanting to see Amsterdam and some of the museums here.  The Rijkmuseum was definitely one at the top of the list.


The museum is under renovations currently, and will be until at least 2012 or 2013.  The final design is viewable at the Rijksmuseum site. It looks like it’s going to be awesome when it’s finished.

Huh,  I just found out while writing this post that  the name Rijksmuseum just means “National Museum” in Dutch. Who knew?  But when you say the Rijksmuseum, everyone assumes you are talking about this one in Amsterdam.

From the photo above, we took a right to enter the Philips wing of the museum that will remain open during the renovations.

Museum entrance

Let me just say that I was really surprised at how much I loved the art here.  I see now why they call them the Dutch masters and their masterpieces.  I remember the first time I ever really got intrigued by the mastery of Rembrandt.  It was, of all places, in a novel by Anne Rice.  It was a Lestat novel, Tale of the Body Thief maybe, but I remember being intrigued by the character’s intrigue.  Silly I know.  Another purely fictional book I  read not so long ago, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gerry Maquire, was set in the Dutch Golden Age also.

I think the two most impressive paintings here, purely wow, are the Banquet of the Amsterdam Civic Guard in Celebration of the Peace of Münster by Bartholomeus van der Helst, and The Night Watch by Rembrandt:

Rembrandts The Night Watch

Rembrandt's The Night Watch

*image from  Wikipedia Commons

These paintings were group portraits, a 17th century form of modern-day group photographs.  The way the light and dark plays into the painting and the incredible details kept me eyes entranced.  Not to mention that these are both large; The Night Watch measures approximately 14ft x 12ft, and the painting by Van der Helst roughly 18 ft x 8 ft.

I also enjoyed seeing works by Vermeer, The Kitchen Maid and Woman reading a Letter.  It’s strange and wonderful to see paintings, in person, that you remember studying in your humanities texts.

Honestly, the museum being condensed like this makes it the perfect size for someone visiting for one afternoon.

If you looking for creative endeavors this month – check out an art inspired spin-off of Nanowrimo called Art Every Day Month (AEDM) at Creative Every Day.  I just checked it out today after hearing that Jul over at This Non-American Life is participating.

Written by Kat

November 13, 2008 at 11:58 pm

Posted in Art, Museum, Travel

Tagged with ,