Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Rijksmuseum

As were strolling from the tram stop to the museum, Marianne pointed out that it would not look very good if we spent three weeks in Amsterdam and did not visit the museum. We had both been there before. For me it was 1974 so my memories of it were pretty dim.

The museum has just reopened after a major renovation that lasted several years. We were fortunate in our timing to be able to visit it.

 We arrived at 9:30 and did not have to line up at all. It cost 15 euros each and they do take credit cards. They give you a booklet with a map to the various floors.

Marianne and I agreed to separate and go our own ways and meet at 1 pm at the bookshop. I headed up to the famous paintings hoping the crowd would not be too bad.

The Night Watch was smaller than I remembered. It has pride of place in the museum.

Zoom lenses are wonderful for capturing detail. However I have taken low resolution photos since the next step up in the camera is a 4 mb photo. My little netbook has trouble handling such large images.

Another of these Rembrandt group paintings.

Doggy at the bottom of the picture. 

There are three of these enormous paintings in the room.

Rembrandt self portrait.

Relatively deserted hall leading to the Night Watch room. At times, some of the side rooms were empty.

The side room with the Vermeers was an exception. There were a lot of people already. As Marianne said later, you forget how small some of these famous paintings are.

Where possible, I have included a photo of the description. There are a lot of photos in this blog, some more successful than others. Just scroll down until something attracts your attention. There is no need to look at each painting or object in detail.

I passed back through the Night Watch room. Still not too many visitors.

Not too many people in the side chambers.

I really liked this one. It was so different to the others.

When we left the museum, Marianne asked if I had taken a photo of this one which was her favourite. I remembered the painting but couldn't remember if I too a photo. Fortunately I did.

You can read about Mary here. It has made me wonder how such marriages at such a young age worked. When was it deemed appropriate that they share a bed?

Over the years it has really puzzled me why there are very few famous painters and composers who are women. I had never heard of Judith Leyster. I have no doubt that there was discrimination but women managed to overcome that in other areas of the arts.

Incredible fireplace and paneling.

Now that is a cannon.

At 11 am, the Night Watch room was getting very crowded.

The library. There was actually a woman at a table reading a book so it must be possible to use it.

I have been fascinated by the habit of many painters to include a detail to one side of the painting that offsets the seriousness of the main subject.

As you can see, it's not just paintings in this museum.

Delft plaques.

I was amazed by this cabinet. It was only a couple of feet high.

You may have noticed the missing painting.

The Terminator needed a couple of these monsters.

There was nobody else in the room and it had a very peaceful feel to it.

I was really taken with the wife's face in the above painting. The artist captured her looking at her children and the photo does not really show it as well as the real thing.

And yes, the cigars are named after him.

I really liked this painting, probably because there was nothing else like it in the museum. After a while you can only take so many paintings of groups of distinguished men.

One room had a display of model ships. The workmanship was incredible. You have to remember that the Dutch were a sea-faring nation and earned incredible wealth from their overseas interests.

Another room had weapons of various kinds. Here are pistols.

Notice the hollowed out stocks.

How this modern necklace got to be displayed is beyond me. Everything else was centuries old and here is some that is only 50 years old. It really seemed to be out of place, even if it was very interesting.

A display of three dimensional theater scenes.

The museum now has a small modern wing that houses its Asian collection from the time when the Dutch created the sailing routes to Asia. Many people do not realize that Australia was really discovered by the Dutch seaman Willem Janszoon in 1606, well before James Cook in 1770.

Of course, the aborigines discovered Australia first.

Some of you might have read Gavin Menzies book 1421 that claims that the Chinese sailed to the east coast of Australia in that year as well as many other places around the globe. It's an interesting theory but as you might expect doubts have been expressed.

The statures really look ferocious.


I found this intriguing.

That is a particularly haunting face.

Another of these extras at the side of a painting.

Marianne and I met at the bookshop at about 12:30. Three hours was enough for both of us. After a while there is just so many paintings that you start walking by masterpieces because you have seen so many.

The line of people waiting to get tickets. If you plan to visit, go on a weekday and not too long after opening time of 9 am. It really is a fabulous museum and I really enjoyed it.

This poster is everywhere in Amsterdam but not in the museum. It reminds me of one of nephews Ned when he was about four years old and had been given a chocolate icecream. I poked around on the Internet and came up with this possible explanation for what it is all about.

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