The Netherlands

The Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is one of the most popular museums in The Netherlands. It was established in 1885 and is host to many famous paintings including The Night Watch by Rembrandt.

Most of these pieces I’ve only seen in my textbooks. Finally getting to see them in person was a surreal experience. I’m an art major, Graphic Design so art is very important to me. Art is apart of our culture. Long before we could take photographs, we painted. They were a way of capturing the moment and keeping it forever.

We spent our time in the wing of 1650 to 1700 pieces. It was Golden Age for The Netherlands but not every piece was about wealth. Some showcased life as a struggle. The wealthy were the richest in the land while the poor remained that way.

It’s also important to understand that the people in the portraits and the painters, were human. It’s so easy to look at a painting and judge it as good, bad, a masterpiece or a piece of garbage. Each piece, no matter how you feel about it, meant something to the creator and the commissioner. It might have been a wedding portrait to immortalize a nobleman and his wife on their special day. It may have been a winter morning outside the artist’s front door.

Some pieces immortalized a part of history, like a war ship going down among enemy ships. Another one we saw held the surrendering of a town during war. These paintings are results of the daily times. As history buffs revel in their facts, art history buffs can swim in the stories smeared on canvas.

It is important to take note that the museum is monstrous in size. Usually Sander and I can do about 2-3 hours tops before we start to get restless. That’s how we are, both mindful of the history and we respect it enough to know when we’ve had enough. We’re going to look into getting a membership so that we can wander in when we’re in the area, which is actually more often than I thought.

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