"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Day 2 - Amsterdam

Early the next morning found us in line with our tickets to the Rijksmuseum. Its a beautiful structure and there was an orchestra playing Vivaldi under the central arch to greet us - what a treat that was!

Rijksmuseum on Museum Square

The ticket desk and entrance is through this light filled inner atrium with a lovely cafe on the second level.
Rijksmuseum inner atrium
At the end of a long gallery called the Hall of Fame hung with Rembrandt portraits, Vermeer's The Milkmaid and other astounding paintings, you find yourself in the Night Watch Room as seen in the photo below.

The Night Watch Room
Other wise known as the Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Cocq (1642), the Night Watch is so large that it is almost impossible to imagine Rembrandt painting it so perfectly with great attention to faces and gestures. It was painted to adorn the guild hall and shows the captain dressed in black ordering his lieutenant to begin marching. The young girl with the light catching her so beautifully was the company mascot. It is awe inspiring!
The Night Watch
 And hung on the next wall I was thrilled to see Rembrandt's The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis (1661). The painting was commissioned by the city of Amsterdam to adorn the newly built Town Hall but was returned to Rembrandt after hanging there for only a short while. The reason for the return is undocumented.

The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis 1661-1662

 Some other treasures from the museum:

Terrracotta sculpture of horse and rider

Democratus & Heraclitus by Hendrick Brugghen 1628

Banquet Still Life 1644 by Adriaen Utrecht

The Great Hall, which was formerly the entrance to the museum, is adorned with stained glass windows reaching up to a vaulted ceiling. This one was commissioned in 1882 by William Dixon of London to show the Art of Painting and features Rembrandt, Apelles and Van Leyden among others.

The Art of Painting stained glass
 And an ancient, heart stopping crucifix from the year 1260.

Crucifix 1260

I could go on and on as the museum is filled with countless treasures of art and of Dutch history but instead I will leave you with this evening photo of the wonderful Central Station building which was a short walk from our hotel. It is of Gothic/Renaissance style architecture and was designed by Pierre Cuypers who also designed the Rijksmuseum.

Central Station

In my next post, I will tell you about  a special exhibit at the Rijksmuseum and our visit to the Albert Kuiper Market.


  1. Oh what a thrill to see all this! Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. It is a long time ago since I visited the Rijksmuseum, before the renovation and the new entrance. I love to see your photos! Can you believe that the Night Watch painting used to be even larger and a part was cut off? I love the banquet still life! Can't wait for your next post! Thanks for sharing all this!

    1. It is truly an awe inspiring place! The Banquet Still Life was magnificent and perfect - a real masterpiece of the genre!

  3. Hi my friend.
    thank you for the photos. It must have been wonderful to see them in person. All the best Susan,

    1. Photographs just can never to justice to an oil painting - there is nothing like seeing the painted strokes up close and personal!

  4. How wonderful!! The Rijksmusem sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing. I just went to see The Met Breuer's..unfinished works by so many of the Masters at the old Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC. SO amazing!! There was an unfinished painting by Manet, Rembrandt and Turner who had a room for himself ...too much to tell you!! But it was a beautiful exhibit. Needed to share...lol

    1. That sounds like a fascinating exhibit, Hilda - I would have loved to see it. In the Van Gogh Museum there were many self portraits that looked like practice oil sketches to me - they were so interesting to see.

  5. Heel mooie foto's Susan.
    groetjes van Simonne

    1. Thank you, Simonne - I am glad you find them interesting!

  6. Thank you for sharing your photos! We were happy to see the Rijksmuseum when we did. After we returned home we learned that someone had slashed The Night Watch and caused a lot of damage. It is repaired, thank goodness! It's a remarkable painting as are the other art pieces in the museum. So glad you could go as a family!

    1. I did not know the Night Watch had been vandalized but read about it after reading your comment. How terrible. I also read that the Pieta was vandalized and had to be repaired. These incidents make me so sad.


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