BEST 10 MUST-SEE PAINTINGS AT AMSTERDAM RIJKS MUSEUM

Rijks Museum is a must-visit place when you are in Amsterdam. The museum is huge, and there are so many famous artworks. However, for the ones who are not sure what to see and who don’t have enough time to enjoy all of them, O’Bon Paris will introduce 10 most famous artworks you should not miss.

 

WHAT TO SEE IN RIJKSMUSEUM 1. VINCENT VAN GOGH - SELF PORTRAIT

1

VINCENT VAN GOGH - SELF PORTRAIT

After hearing from the brother Theo about the new styles of French style paintings, Gogh moved to Paris in 1886. After moving to France, Gogh drew lots of self-portraits adapting new styles, and one of the main reasons he drew self-portraits was to save the cost to pay for a model. In this self-portrait, he drew himself dressed up with fashionable Parisians' style and used rhythmic brushstrokes with stunning colors. 

 

WHAT TO SEE IN RIJKSMUSEUM 2. JAN WILLEM PIENEMAN - WATERLOO

2

JAN WILLEM PIENEMAN- WATERLOO

The size of the canvas is 823cm x 567cm, and it is almost impossible to take it in one frame of the photo. In the middle of the painting, you can see the Duke of Wellington, the central figure of this group painting, receiving the message that Prussian forces are coming to his aid. William I bought this picture for his son, and thanks to him, the painting remained in the Netherlands, in Rijksmuseum. The size of the picture is overwhelming while there are many hidden details in the painting. 

 

WHAT TO SEE IN RIJKSMUSEUM 3. REMBRANDT - NIGHT WATCH

3

REMBRANDT - NIGHT WATCH

A famous group portrait of a militia company defending their city. The people in this painting are the captain Frans Banning Cocq and his lieutenant, surrounded by sixteen other men. Rembrandt was paid to draw this group portrait, but many people were not satisfied with his work as they were in the darkness in the painting. It is called Night Watch, but it is said that it was actually during the day time. Due to the stunning colors and dynamics of people in the painting, now it is exhibited in the middle of Gallery of Honour in Rijksmuseum being the most famous paintings to see in this museum.

 
WHAT TO SEE IN RIJKSMUSEUM 4. REMBRANDT - THE JEWISH BRIDE

4

REMBRANDT - THE JEWISH BRIDE

Rembrandt used palette knifes to thickly paint this painting except around faces. This painting is describing a very intimate and private moment of the couple, Isaac and Rebecca. It is said that Gogh was constantly astonished by Rembrandt's painting technique after seeing this painting.  

   

WHAT TO SEE IN RIJKSMUSEUM 5. JAN ASSELIJN - THE THREATENED SWAN

5

JAN ASSELIJN - THE THREATENED SWAN

This painting is mainly focused on a swan protecting its nest against a dog. When you look closely this painting, you will realize why this is a masterpiece with the threatened face of the swan, delicately painted feathers, exact expressions of lights. Later on, one political meaning was added in this painting. It was said that this painting is describing a Dutch stateman Johan de Witt, who is shown as a swan, protecting his country against the enemy country, England, which is shown as a dog. 

  

WHAT TO SEE IN RIJKSMUSEUM 6. JOHANNES VERMEER - VIEW OF HOUSES IN DELFT(THE LITTLE STREET)

6

JOHANNES VERMEER - VIEW OF HOUSES IN DELFT(THE LITTLE STREET)

One of the most representative painters of the Dutch golden age with Rembrandt. The most famous artworks of him are 'The Girl with Pearl' and 'The Dairy'. Vermeer was born in Delft, the Netherlands, and he described a common normal house of Delft. Old walls made with bricks, cracks on walls, people on the street show how it was like in Delft. Overall, the buildings in the painting is extrememly well balanced. The location of this house was Viamingstraat 40-42, where his aunt was living from 1645 to 1670. 

  

WHAT TO SEE IN RIJKSMUSEUM 7. JOHANNES VERMEER - WOMAN READING A LETTER

7

JOHANNES VERMEER - WOMAN READING A LETTER

A woman reading a letter in a quiet and private morning time, getting the morning sunlights. Showing that it is early in the morning, the woman is still wearing her blue night jacket. Vermeer used many different colors in this painting, but still the blue color is the most overwhelming. You will spot that Vermeer recorded the precise lighting effects by seeing the light grey shadow on the woman's face and light blue shadows on the wall. 

 

WHAT TO SEE IN RIJKSMUSEUM 8. JOHANNES VERMEER - THE LOVE LETTER

8

JOHANNES VERMEER - THE LOVE LETTER

In the normal house setting, you can see a woman looking up the maid, holding a letter in one hand. The painting clearly describes the emotions of characters when the maid just handed a woman a love letter. The woman is surprised and nervous with the uncertain love, while the maid eases her mind with her warm smile. Behind two women, you can see the painting on the wall. In 17th century, the sea symbolized love while a ship was for the lover. 

 

WHAT TO SEE IN RIJKSMUSEUM 9. LUCAS VAN LEYDEN - TRIPTYCH WITH THE LAST JUDGEMENT

9

LUCAS VAN LEYDEN - TRIPTYCH WITH THE LAST JUDGEMENT

Lucas Van Leyden is known as the pioneer of the Renaissance, depicting biblical and secular subjects in his artworks. Considered the most important surviving altarpiece in the Netherlands, this artwork depicts the emotions with the figures’ faces and actions while the vivid and stunning colors add more impressions.

 

WHAT TO SEE IN RIJKSMUSEUM 10. HENDRICK AVERCAMP - ENJOYING THE ICE NEAR A TOWN

10

HENDRICK AVERCAMP - ENJOYING THE ICE NEAR A TOWN

When you peer into this painting, you can see various characters you might encounter during the winter. A beggar asking for the money, a man making a hole in the ice wishing to catch fish, and women wearing velvet masks to protect their skins from the cold. The town is covered white with snow, and warm and long clothes of people remind you of the winter landscape.

 


Words and Photographs by Yuna Lee