Rembrandt and The Rijskmuseum

No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a visit to The Rijskmuseum, the Dutch National Museum of Art.  I amsterdam closer

And no trip to the Rijskmuseum is complete without a visit to the hall housing “The Night Watch”, one of Rembrandt’s masterpieces and a national treasure.

Night Watch full frameInterestingly, the painting’s real title: “Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq” came to be known as “The Night Watch” because it was so very dark and looked as if Captain Cocq was dispatching his men on a night mission.  Turns out, after the painting was cleaned a few decades back, it was clearly a daytime scene with the sun illuminating the central characters.  This painting is so beloved by the Dutch, that they created a 3 dimensional version of it in a square across town.

Outdoor "Night Watch"

Outdoor “Night Watch”

Nearby is a house that Rembrandt inhabited for nearly 20 years, before he became bankrupt.  This view of his studio may explain his rather rapid downfall:

Rembrandt's studio

Perhaps, if he’d stuck to his beautifully lit portraits and landscapes instead of attempting an early Rothko, he would have died solvent. (I really have no notion of what’s on the easel.  But I did learn something about those tiny beds that we see in 16th and 17th century homes, like this one (in a bed cabinet)Rog bedcabinet

According to our guide, it wasn’t that people were significantly shorter, it was that they slept partially sitting up for fear blood would pool in their heads and they would die.  I googled this notion and learned an even greater lesson:  never trust a tour guide.)



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9 Responses to Rembrandt and The Rijskmuseum

  1. John May 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    Whe next in Amsterdam, I recommend a visit to the Museum of Amsterdam. It’s a nice museum with a great overvew of the history of the area and why a small settlement at the constant risk of being flooded became an important world center of commerce.

  2. Libby May 26, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    Someone told me they slept sitting up because they had such bad indigestion. Haven’t googled it.

    Send more!

  3. Lisha May 26, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    I’m so glad you posted the Rembrandt picture and a little of it’s history. I enjoyed seeing his home too. You always make your blog interesting, sister.

  4. Sandy Lew-hailer May 26, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    That’s so Rothko-esque! I just got this today and Thankyou ! Fun for me to spend a litttle time with you vicariously Elaine!
    😀 sandy

    • Elaine Haydock May 30, 2014 at 9:07 am #

      Hi Sandy! Love to have you along! It’s always fun for me to spend time with you – just wish Seattle weren’t so far away from us!

  5. Gabriele Sweidel May 26, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    Totally expected, your blog is entertaining and filled with your perceptive humor. Makes me wish I were traveling with you…a virtual tour guide!

  6. Stretch May 26, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    You mean the blood won’t pool in my head and I can stretch out now? That bed gives new meaning to coming out of the closet!

    • Elaine Haydock May 30, 2014 at 9:06 am #

      No one would ever want to come out of the closets in your house, John! They’re too beautifully organized!

  7. marla brill May 27, 2014 at 2:34 am #

    I love hearing from you- let me know if you ever want a travel partner!!

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