Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rijksmuseum Opening

You may have heard that the Rijksmuseum is now open after 10 years of renovation.

Before the opening, there was a well done flashmob recreating one of the museum's most famous paintings, The Nightwatch.  You can see the video here.

Last Friday I was able to take a tour of the new museum, mostly focusing on the restoration; the changes they made and the whys.  It was really interesting, and I wanted to show you some photos.

First the outside, just in case you weren't familiar.

There's always been a 4-story art history
library inside, but now it's open to the public.
Anyone can come and browse this very large
collection.


Originally, when the museum opened in 1885, the ceiling and walls of the main upstairs areas looked like they do now, but in the 1950's everything was painted white.  Part of the renovations entailed re-creating the original designs. 

The upstairs foyer.

It all leads to The Night Watch.  On either side
of this very large corridor are alcoves with some
of the main works in the museum.  We didn't
stay here long.  There were too many people
to actually see anything.

Up above the alcoves were representations of different types
of art.  This one is Plateelkunst (pottery, or ceramic art).  The
two artists on either side are famous Dutch ceramic artists.

The Night Watch (De Nachtwacht)

The windows out in the foyer were never covered up, and they were really beautiful.  There are four of them, and they each feature a different artistic discipline: painting, sculpture, architecture, and interestingly enough, philosophy.  Each window is divided into three main rows.  The bottom row has four named figures from four major time periods in Dutch history: Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, and Enlightenment.  The middle row shows how the discipline was carried out in that time period.  The sculpture window below shows what the gentlemen's workshops would have looked like.  Then the top row had four different artistic occupations, for a total of 16, seeming to have no correlation to the subject below.  You can see the weaver's (wever) window below.  Male figures dominate the windows, but the four periods of architecture don't feature people, just styles, and female figures are holding the representative buildings.




In a minor stairwell I found this donor window.  ING is a bank here.  I thought it a rather permanent and somewhat novel way to honor the museum sponsors.



And finally, two object photos I can't resist sharing.  There was a small costume section on the ground floor, which gets changed out every 6 months, and it currently contains female costumes from the early 1800's.  Perfect, no?

I may have to make this dress.

And the second object is the Dirk Hartog plate, which was a very early marker a ship's captain left on an island of the coast of Western Australia.  It's considered one of Australia's most important historic objects, but it was returned to the Dutch government when a later captain discovered it (who also worked for the Dutch East India Company), and replaced it with his own "I was here" type marker, and took this one back to the Netherlands with him.


When Dan gets back from the states we'll be going again, so you may see more photos soon-ish.

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