On our final morning in Amsterdam we paid a visit to the Rijksmuseum. It is an impressive building. I liked the ceiling detail of the entrance lobby. It almost dared you to try to steal one of the exhibits.
The stained glass windows were pretty impressive, too.
There is a lot to see at the Rijksmuseum, and we saw a lot of it. One of the centrepieces was Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. It is huge.
Next to the large original picture is a much smaller copy.
Can you see the difference? In 1715 the full size painting was moved from the large hall of the Kloveniersdoelen to the Amsterdam Town Hall. This involved getting the painting through two doors, however, it would not fit. The solution to this was to cut the painting down on three sides, particularly to the left hand side where three entire figures were cut away and disposed of, for the strips were not preserved. Imagine being painted into a masterpiece and then finding out that you had been snipped out of frame because you were too large to fit through a door! One of them was only a child, cut off in his prime, the poor thing. I think these unfortunate souls deserve recognition. Here they are, in all their glory:
This course of events puts things into perspective, I suppose. I was upset when our local council cut our green recycling from once a week to once a fortnight. That, however, pales by comparison to the cutting of The Night Watch by Amsterdam’s City Hall Counsellors in 1715. They should have cut a bigger doorway instead. In disgust, we turned away from the Rijksmuseum, walked straight down to Centraal Station and caught a train out of the country. We did this via a pancake house, of course, as travelling on an empty stomach is never a good idea.
Points on this part of our visit to Amsterdam (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- Rijksmuseum: N 52° 21.600 E 004° 53.115
It was a shocking piece of vandalism, wasn’t it? And badly altered the compositional balance of the painting too.
Still a great painting. Rembrandt was a master of light and his brush strokes are refreshingly loose – surprisingly modern in style.
There was a little information plaque on the wall by the copy. I had never heard about this before and could not believe what I was reading. Absolutely incredible!
I was shocked to learn about this short sighted act by the authorities …. how dare they reduce your green recycling to just a fortnightly collection. No wonder you left the country to explore Amsterdam !
Laughed. Quite immoderately. VG! RH