Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Amsterdam - The Rijksmuseum, National Museum

Date: 11th October 2015

Amsterdam is a real treat for art-lovers as it is a home to over 50 museums, many of them are famous across the globe. A few of the most popular are located together on Museum's Square,(Museumplein), such as the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum. Those are the 3 main 1. Others equally unmissable are the Anne Frank House, Hermitage Amsterdam, EYE Filmmuseum and Foam, a photography museum. The Rijksmuseum is one of Amsterdam’s grandest and most popular museums as it is also serves as National Museum, a must visit place for those museum's lover. It has a vast collection showcases of 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. It is a great saddened that it was close by the time we arrived. But it doesn't stop me from putting up an entry though as not to miss any single thing from this travelogue of mine.

From website, I obtained quite a good read and facts about the museum that i wish to share with you in this entry. The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam contains numerous Dutch National treasures. Some of the most famous national treasures in Amsterdam and the Netherlands are; historic art by Vermeer, Frans Hals and most notably Rembrandt’s great work ‘The Night Watch’, which takes pride of this place being placed in a beautifully lit hall allowing visitors to enjoy every tiny detail. If I could be inside, It would be the same experience as I had while visiting "Monalisa" painting in the Paris Musee-de-Louvre. A visitor may learn more about Rembrandt in Amsterdam other than exploring all sides of Dutch history. The Rijksmuseum has much more than just paintings by Dutch Masters from the Golden Age. The museum’s expansive evocative collection also includes Delftware, sculptures, archaeological artifacts, 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. Surprisingly it has a modern times art too, such as a Mondrian-inspired dress by Yves Saint Laurent dating from 1965. 

The Rijksmuseum was designed by renowned Dutch architect P.J.H. Cuypers. The construction of the monumental building began in 1876 and it finally opened in 1885 as the largest museum in the Netherlands. Following 10 years of extensive restoration and renovation, the Rijksmuseum was reopened in April 2013 to welcome it's visitors back and acclaim worldwide recognition. Again last year, in 2014 the museum expanded yet further with the opening of the redeveloped Philips Wing, ensuring that the Rijksmuseum is one of the most modern 'old' museums in the world. You may only appreciate an external features that I snapped while circling around the museum.

The serenity of the Rijksmuseum's also lies with it's garden. You may refer to my earlier entry "flower garden at Rijksmuseum courtyard. Apart from the arts, artefacts and building, from 2013 onwards visitor may see that the Rijksmuseum’s garden freshly landscaped, making it an ideal spot to sit and relax amidst magnificent surroundings. Visitors may take a stroll to browse its sculptures and greenery for free which is open every day from 9 am till 6 pm. As well as its permanent features, the garden hosts temporary exhibitions of sculptural greats, such Miro and Alexander Calder. Such exhibitions typically take place from spring to autumn. Please take note to visit the lovely garden as mentioned.

The Rijksmuseum is one of the world’s most famous museums, housing more than 8,000 works of art inside one of the Netherlands’ grandest buildings. The following 10 arts piece are not to be missed if you happened to visit them soon:-

1. The passageway - please click "rijksmuseum-general information of the building, the presentation of the passage" should you want to see how the Passage looks like. People said that the passageway has caught their eye due to it's beauty. The transparency, atmosphere, kind hosts and street musicians’ sounds make a great entrance. When entering the museum, most of the visitors will rush to the Gallery of Honour to find the famous Night Watch (Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, 1642) and the Milkmaid (Johannes Vermeer, 1660), but takes time to appreciate the beauty of the museum passageway.

2. The Night Watch, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, 1642 - The Night Watch is Rembrandt’s most famous (and largest) canvas, made for the Arquebusiers guild hall. He was the first to paint lively figures in a group portrait. For instance: the guardsmen are getting into formation and the captain in the front is telling his lieutenant to start the company marching. The young girl in the foreground was the company’s mascot. Rumour has it that Rembrandt painted her to look like his wife, who passed away during the making of The Night Watch. The painting survived its cutting to fit into the Town Hall in 1715. And during World War II, it was rolled into a cylinder form and moved out of Amsterdam. In the last 40 years there have been two attacks of vandalism on the painting: the first one happened with a butter knife in 1975, the second with sprayed acid in 1990."

3. The Milkmaid, Johannes Vermeer, 1660 - A piece of Vermeer’s famous work depicts a maidservant pouring milk, totally absorbed in her labour. The whole painting is still, except for the stream of milk; Vermeer knew how to use colors to make fluids appear lively. Vemeer has made milk fluid in the painting so real that the visitors believe that the milk is actually real, instead of paint.

4. Self-portrait, Vincent Van Gogh, 1887 - Vincent Van Gogh has quite a number painted his self potrait. 1 of them is kept in Rijksmuseum not in Van Gogh Museum. This self portrait painting left an impression to the visitor of his tragic story. After moving to France and moving in with his friend Gauguin in 1888, he experienced a great creativity coupled with tensions and dementia that was reflected in his artwork. When Gauguin started to think about leaving, Vincent threatened him with a knife, but ended up cutting his own (left) ear. He allegedly brought the ear to a nearby brothel. After the incident, he checked himself into a mental institution where his further alternation of madness and creativity took place. He moved to Auvers-sur-Oise (near Paris) in 1890, where the despair and loneliness increased and he eventually committed suicide. A sad story of Van Gogh reflected in this self portrait, so insecure about life.

5. "Cuypers looks around the corner" - The Rijksmuseum reopened on the 13th of April 2013, after a decade-long renovation. However the first official opening took place in 1885. The building’s architect was Pierre Cuypers, who received a lot of criticism for his design. The general opinion was that it was 'too much Renaissance and Gothic, not enough Dutch'. But after 130 years, the building is still standing strong. Just like Cuypers, who included himself in the design as a stone sculpture, peeking around the corner. He has been watching over the museum all this time. Take note that an old ancient but grandeur buildings in Amsterdam has similar architecture style with the Rijksmuseum; i.e. Amsterdam Centraale train station to name a few. 

6. Banquet at the Crossbowmen’s Guild in Celebration of the Treaty of M√ľnster, Bartholomeus van der Helst, 1648 - Bartholomeus van der Helst painted his most famous work in 1648, depicting the signing of the Treaty of Munster (which marked an end to the war with Spain). The banquet takes place at the Amsterdam crossbowmen’s guild. It is a symbolic meal of peace, where Amsterdam's reconciliation politics are highlighted. The captains shake hands, the drinking horn (peace chalice) is passed, and the poem on the drum tells about the militia’s joy that their weapons can be laid to rest. An expert has said that this is a painting that dares you to stare at it for a long time: you keep discovering more details. For example, you can see a perfect reflection of the drinking men in one man’s armour. I have a similar painting at home that I collected from Sunday Bazaar when I resided in Karachi back in 2008.
The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam a museum for modern art, contemporary art, and design l

7. The Singel Bridge at the Paleisstraat in Amsterdam, George Hendrik Breitner, 1896 - The way in which this woman walks in your direction and the way the painting is ‘cropped’, is very photographic. Breitner often took photos to prepare future paintings, i.e. a technological development that 19th century painters could benefit from. Along with the innovative painting’s perspective, where its changed appearance is interesting to take notice at. He initially painted the woman as a maid, but after negative reviews from his representing gallery, who said 'it would be better if he made her into an elegant lady', he changed the painting’s components.

The Royal Concertgebouw, a concert hall facing the Rijskmuseum 

8. The Battle of Waterloo, Jan Willem Pieneman, 1824 - The painting draws visitor's attention not only because of its colossal size (the Night Watch can fit inside it at least three times), but the unrealistic, yet very realistic looking portrayal of the scene. The Battle of Waterloo was an impetuous fight, but Jan Pieneman apparently chose to give the soldiers a rather relaxed look. The painting was supposed to be displayed in the palace of Brussels. Click the link here to see how the painting looks like, "The Battle of Waterloo".

9. Reception room from Haarlem, Abraham van der Hart, ca. 1793-1795 - Abraham made the room entirely classic where all the room components are coordinated and match with each other, despite their origins which was typical for the 18th century. The mantelpiece is from Italy, the carpet from Belgium, the furniture from Amsterdam, the silk stringing from France and the chandeliers from England. The room was designed for merchant and art collector Willem Philips Kops, and was used for big evening receptions. When looking into the reception room and listening to the classical music a visitor may imagine themselves in the 18th century, and that is what makes the room special. I downloaded the room photo from the website for our review.

10. The Cuypers Library - The Cuypers Library is the biggest and oldest historical art library in the Netherlands. After the 10 years renovation, it has been brought back to its original state: just as what Cuypers had in mind. Every single visitor that enters the library has a 'jaw-drop moment', including because of its impressive with a calming look. I want so so much to be at least, inside this library! Sigh!

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