Celebrating Rembrandt In Amsterdam
This year marks the 350th anniversary of the death of Rembrandt and the Netherlands is celebrating its favorite son with a year-long celebration of his life and works. The 17th Century Dutch Master spent most of his life in Amsterdam and that is where the center of the celebration is.
The versatile and prolific draftsman, painter and printmaker are widely considered to be one of the greatest visual artists in history and the most important in Dutch history. His works depict a range of styles and subject matters, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, biblical and mythological themes, and animal studies. What follows is when and where you can find the works of Rembrandt during the summer and fall. As an added bonus, there are a couple of suggestions of where to stay while viewing the art.
It should come as no surprise that The Rijksmuseum, this internationally renowned museum would be the first place to go for Rembrandt retrospective. It owns the largest collection of Rembrandt’s works in the world and for the first time, it is showing nearly everything: 22 oil paintings (including The Night Watch and the Jewish Bride), 60 of his drawings and 300 of the museum’s collection of 1,300 Rembrandt prints. The combined exhibit is called “All the Rembrandts,” and you need to act fast if you want to see it as it ends June 10. The 17th-century drawings and etchings are extremely fragile and have never before been displayed at one time. If you’re very lucky, you’ll receive a tour from Jane Turner, the head of the Rijksmuseum Print Room whose intense passion for prints and drawings from the Dutch Golden Age is contagious.
For those coming later in the year you can see something rare, the restoration of The Night Watch. Beginning in July a glass chamber will be built around the painting and visitors will be able to observe the restorers at work.
Other activities surrounding the great Dutch artist include the “Long Live Rembrandt” summer exhibition (July 15 – September 15), where visitors can view selected pieces of art inspired by Rembrandt create by the general public. The Rijksmuseum ends the year with Rembrandt – Velázquez (October 11 – January 19, 2020). This collaboration with Madrid’s Museo del Prado explores the commonality between the works of Rembrandt and fellow 17th Century painter Diego Velázquez of Spain. It will also include other 17th Century painters, such as Murillo and Hals, Zurbarán and Vermeer.
The Rembrandt House Museum
In one of the oldest sections of Amsterdam, a large house that was Rembrandt’s home for about 20 years with a new addition serves as a museum. As expected it will be the site of several special exhibitions commemorating Rembrandt. In the summer the focus will be on works influenced by Rembrandt, which include Degas and Picasso. The exhibition “Inspired by Rembrandt,” runs from June 7 – September 1.
The Jewish Historical Museum
This museum will be displaying the Rembrandt’s St.Peter in Prison (1631), which will be the focal point of an exhibition there September 30 – November 10.
For those who just can’t get enough of Rembrandt, you can take the hour-long train to De Hague to see the exhibition, “Rembrandt and the Mauritshuis,” which will run till September 15. It consists of 11 paintings that are known to be by Rembrandt, including what is believed to be his last self-portrait (1669), The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632), Portrait of an Elderly Man (1667) and Homer (1663). It will also include two paintings that may be by Rembrandt and five paintings that were purchased by the museum as Rembrandts but are now believed to be copies or forgeries.
The Mauritshuis is always worth the trip as its collection includes works by Jan Steen, Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer, including the Girl with a Pearl Earring. One of its most recent acquisitions is St John the Baptist Preaching (1627) by Pieter Lastman, who taught Rembrandt for six months.
Where To Stay
There are many high-quality hotels in Amsterdam but one that hits all the marks of comfort, sound service and convenience are the Radisson Blu Hotel, Amsterdam (Rusland 17, 1012 CK). It’s a short walk to Dam Square and the Rembrandt House Museum and just a few minutes more to the central train station. It’s situated in a lively neighborhood filled with bars and cafes between two canals. It has two buildings on either side of a narrow Rusland street connected by an underground passageway. The large rooms are brightly colored with large windows bringing in plenty of sunlight and extremely comfortable beds. It has a well-equipped health club and a sauna and offers a high-quality buffet breakfast.
For a luxurious experience, there’s the NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky (Dam 9, 1012 JS) right on Dam Square. It’s a sleek modern hotel with some old-world touches. The rooms are large and bright with over-the-top comforts like plush chairs combined with sleek workstations. The en-suite bathroom has a separate tub and shower and loads of privacy if that’s what you prefer. The White Room by Jacob Jan Boerma is a Michelin Star restaurant with a plush classic white interior and with columns and gold-colored touches, mirrors and paintings. The room was given its name in 1885 when it first opened as a restaurant and remains in its original condition. Breakfast is served in the Winter Garden, a magnificent atrium space with a glass and steel vaulted ceiling and a black and white parquet floor. The buffet breakfast is luxurious and plentiful with multiple stations serving hot and cold dishes.