Amsterdam Part Two :Stunning Rijksmuseum

Full of museums and art galleries, you are spoilt for choice in Amsterdam. Top of the list had to be the Rijksmuseum, a ten year renovation project culminating in the lifting in of the Rembrandt’s mammoth painting ‘The Night Watch’. It is a huge building with a busy thoroughfare running through the middle, which the dutch insisted stayed for the bikes as it was the original city gate and its all in the museumplein, an area of several museums and galleries together.

It didn’t disappoint with the added bonus of photography allowed (no flash). As a building it’s not that old, mid 19th century, but they have retained its character with modern glass and concrete additions, knocked down walls to create 80 rooms and added great lighting and atmosphere to over 8000 exhibits.

Don’t forget to look up at the star sky in the modern room, painted by Turner prize winner Richard Wright,(most people didn’t even look up). It was in brilliant contrast to the rest of the Rijks taking the star motif and making something intricately contemporary.

We covered around a third of it in two and half hours. The website for the Rijksmuseum is addictive and well worth exploring the collections and restoration info. The brilliant Andrew Graham-Dixon also did this excellent programme, Tour the Rijksmuseum

Two portraits I picked out were ‘A Shepherdess’ by Moreelse (1620) and Andy Warhol ‘Queen Beatrice’. The first is exquisitely painted and 400 years old and the latter, a screenprint and ink which doesn’t do justice in the photograph but was stunning up close.

And as a lover of the impressionists and the sea, this has to be the top picture for me. The photo doesn’t do it justice. It feels so modern, yet was painted in 1887 by a Belgian artist, Jan Toorop. There was so much paint and so much colour in it, I was totally mesmerised and could have gazed into it for hours.

jan toorop seascape 1887 (640x570)

Next blog to follow very soon: Amsterdam Part 3: Van Gogh Museum

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