Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
A Building Built as a Museum
One of the things I find particularly interesting about the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands is that the building was constructed as a museum.
Art collections are often housed in buildings erected for other purposes—schools, churches, orphanages, office buildings, private residences—which have been adapted (renovated) for their new function.
The Rijksmuseum’s building is one of the few, and one of the first in Europe, to have been built expressly as a museum.
Jan Steen's "The Sick Woman" ("The Doctor and His Patient") was painted c1665. The work is in the public domain in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.
Formation of the Rijksmuseum
In 1795, the French Revolution put an end to the Dutch Republic, known as the United Provinces of the Netherlands. The Stadhholder (the ruling official), William V — William of Orange (Willem Batavus) —fled to England. The new Batavian Republic came under French control.
The National Art Gallery opened to the public in 1800. It originally occupied a 150-year-old summer palace, Huis ten Bos, near The Hague.
The House of Orange’s collection of paintings, ethnological specimens, and models illustrating physical laws was moved to Paris and absorbed by the Louvre. Other pieces from William of Orange’s collection were sold at auction by the new rulers.
Only 200 paintings of a historical nature and objects with historical associations were saved. These pieces, along with the National Art Gallery housed in Huis ten Bos, formed the basis for the Rijksmuseum.
The Batavian Republic and the Kingdom of Holland
Under foreign occupation, the country’s government became the Batavian Republic and then the Kingdom of Holland. Louis Bonaparte, brother of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, was named king of the Kingdom of Holland. The Rijksmuseum’s collection experienced intensive growth during the reign of Louis Bonaparte, and Amsterdam became a cultural center.
United Kingdom of the Netherlands
French domination of what is now Netherlands came to an end in 1815. The United Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed. The sixth Prince of Orange returned to rule as King William I. The new king inaugurated an ambitious cultural program, which included the decision that the national museum would remain in Amsterdam, and not be moved to The Hague. King William I named the museum Rijksmuseum— Museum of the Kingdom. Also at this time, confiscated works of art from the Louvre in Paris, France were returned to Amsterdam.
The Present-Day Rijksmuseum is Built
With the restoration of the confiscated paintings from France and the paintings acquired through purchases, it became increasingly apparent that new quarters were needed to house the Rijksmuseum’s collections. In 1862, a competition for the design of the country’s art museum was announced. Twenty-one architects entered the competition for the design of the building. Ten years later, the plan submitted by P. H. J. Cuypers was selected as the winning design. Construction took another ten years to complete. The Rijksmuseum opened in its new building on July 13, 1885.
Anthony van Dyck's "Prince William II and His Wife, Princess Mary Stuart"
Anthony van Dyck (1599 to 1641) was a Flemish Baroque painter who was best known for being the court painter to Charles I of England. Van Dyck painted "Prince William II and His Wife, Princess Mary Stuart" in 1641. Princess Mary, the eldest daughter of Charles I, was nine years old when she and Prince William II were married. The prince was 25 days short of his fifteenth birthday.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn's "Self-Portrait as St. Paul"
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606 to 1669) is one of my favorite painters. He is the most important painter in Dutch history and one of the greatest painters in Eurpean history. I like Rembrandt's work because of the way he uses. light.
His "Self-Portrait as St. Paul" was painted in 1661. It is one of many self-portraits Rembrandt painted.