Rijksmuseum

Posted on 31 May 2013

It does not get much better than recording my visit to the newly opened and refurbished Rijksmuseum as the first entry on my blog. It was worth every penny of the reputed £ 300 million cost and the blood, sweat and tears associated with 8 years of planning and 10 years of closure and ensuing work.

The whole visitor experience has been addressed with rigorous discipline and commitment so that the displays and presentation totally focus on the artworks. Clutter and distraction have been eliminated so that visitors can appreciate each artwork and the context in which it was created. Design has played a key role. The architecture has been painted to seemingly disappear and thus not distract, and an elaborate system of indirect lighting and spotlighting leads the eye to directly to the artworks.

I think the object displays are really impressive, presented in numerous, ultra-clear, glass units, retaining their 3-dimensional qualities and appearing to float in air as illustrated in the gun displays below. I also really enjoyed the wonder and beauty of Richard Wright’s ceiling in the halls by the grand gallery. A British Artist and former Turner Prize winner, he has dusted the ceilings with around 50,000 hand-painted stars in a swirling, shifting constellation.

Be prepared, there are long queues to get in, even with tickets, and the museum is either at or near maximum capacity and buzzing with interest and excitement as the pictures below illustrate. This is most evident in the Gallery of Honour which presents the greatest works of the Dutch golden age including the most celebrated artwork in Dutch culture, Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” which, out of the 8,000 objects on display in 80 galleries, is the only artwork to remain in the same position. For me, the Gallery of Honour recaptured the spirit of an old master painting of a picture gallery and the mystery and power of art.