Join 3,557 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"Onze helden zijn terug!"
April 3, 2013 8:43 PM   Subscribe

On April 13, the Rijksmuseum will reopen to the public after a renovation and makeover that took five years longer than expected and went tens of millions of dollars over budget. The museum's most famous painting was also one of the last to be restored to its original location: Rembrandt's "The Night Watch". Sponsor ING Bank celebrated with a unique and special flashmob.

Background
* The Amsterdam Herald
* Slideshow of the museum's new digs

Explore the Rijksmuseum Online
* Rijksstudio (Previously!)
* The Collection
* Masterpieces, including The Night Watch (Formal name: "The Company of captain Frans Banning Cocq and lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch preparing to march out.") and The Milkmaid
* A Timeline of Dutch history and background on Dutch historical figures.

The Night Watch
The painting was incorporated into the plot of a 1942 Nazi biopic entitled "Rembrandt". (That's the full movie, but it's in German.)
* Rembrandt Painting: The Night Watch
* The Art Wolf: "The night watch"
* Art Encyclopedia 2013: The Night Watch by Rembrandt
posted by zarq (30 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't know what I was expecting from the flash mob but that was incredible.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:46 PM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Running with pikes is one of those hazards you never seem to plan for when going shopping.
posted by arcticseal at 8:56 PM on April 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


Rembrandt van Rijn's The Night Watch is not set at night, nor can it tell time. Believe It Or Not!™
posted by infinitewindow at 9:12 PM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh man, according to the documentary Rembrandt's J'Accuse that painting lays bare a sinister plot of the day. According to Peter Greenaway, Rembrandt was hounded by the members of the musketeer regiment for the rest of his life, they exacted a terrible toll on Rembrandt for exposing their secret so publicly.The flash mod does not seem so innocent if you believe that the painting is actually commemorating a murder.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:15 PM on April 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Now you just need the north-south metro to open.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:17 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to mention Peter Greenaway's film Nightwatching, about this painting. The film involves conspiracy and murder, and is quite enjoyable if you're into conspiracy and murder and Rembrandt.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:22 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sorry, Ad hominem. I didn't notice your comment. Greenaway's "J'Accuse" follow-up documentary is good, but I think Nightwatching is a better starting point. Hard to know though, because a lot of Rembrandt's imagery has been kept in the dark.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:29 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ouch, I hadn't realized the painting had been cut down. Are a lot of masterpieces altered so dramatically from how they originally appeared?
posted by Justinian at 9:37 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you ever have a little extra time in Schiphol Airport and are traveling internationally I highly recommend the mini Rijksmuseum that is in the airport.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:39 PM on April 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Seems like Nightwatching is available to watch online.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:42 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are a lot of masterpieces altered so dramatically from how they originally appeared?

Yes. I think about Da Vinci's Last Supper. They cut a door into it, to make the passage from kitchen to dining room easier.

And the Mona Lisa was a poster somebody stuck in a bathroom. True fact.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:50 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


zarq: "a unique and special flashmob"

Unique and special? Wow. That's something.

I kid, this is awesome.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:24 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Unique and special? Wow. That's something

Certainly better than being unique and unremarkable - like almost all people.
posted by pompomtom at 10:54 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


All people are interesting, and therefore not unremarkable.

Here's the proof:

There are approximately seven billion people on the planet. Let's label them with numbers, according to when they joined Metafilter. Not every person on the planet is on Metafilter (yet), but let's go ahead and assume that every person on the planet has an ID number, ranging from 1 to 7 billion.

Is it possible that any of us could be uninteresting? I think not, because I would memail that person and ask them for their user ID. If it was the smallest number of all the uninteresting user IDs, then I would find that interesting, and post a link to it, either on the Blue or one of the other sites, because it was interesting.

There would be some comment about that, but eventually somebody would notice that it wasn't interesting anymore. Just because you have the smallest, or earliest, user ID, it doesn't mean that you are inherently interesting.

That person would get bumped. But the next person, the one with the next user ID, would suddenly become interesting, because they have suddenly become the only Metafilter user who has the smallest user ID. Until we notice that fact.

Then the next person has that honor.

This process continues, ad infinitum. And they charge $5 each time.

So you can see the money-making opportunities with this scheme.

Which is interesting.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:19 PM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Are a lot of masterpieces altered so dramatically from how they originally appeared?

I give you the Counter-Reformation.

Some say the Sistine Chapel was dramatically changed with the cleaning of it, as the secco was removed.


Leonardo's The Last Supper, has not aged well

Many old master oil paintings change dramatically with age, as some of the pigments are not chemically stable (fugitive), so they will change in color, or the paint itself will become more transparent, leading you to see the underpainting below (sometimes which doesn't match up with what's painted above!)

WWII wasn't the best time for works of art, as many were hastily removed, rolled up and hidden. Or lost

More contemporary versions are art that deals with things that decompose, like fruit or chocolate (like so), Which is its own genre

Another interesting example is Spiral Jetty

Or if you really want to get whacky, pretty much any modern day reimagination of a Shakespearean play.
posted by alex_skazat at 11:34 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm aware of the problems associated with natural aging. As tragic as that is it strikes me as different than lopping off significant chunks of the canvas to make it fit between some pillars. Even if it is more insidious.
posted by Justinian at 12:14 AM on April 4, 2013


It's hard to explain quickly why Da Vinci's stuff qualifies as masterpieces. Maybe the word "masterpiece" is useless. You can buy KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce, but is it truly a masterpiece?

BBQ lovers have their own opinions, but I'm talking about Art here.

In this paragraph, and the one that follows, I'm going to try to convince you that there are such things as "masterpieces" - rare works of Art, so delicately and perfectly accomplished as to provide a physical realization of the utmost elegance of human creative potential. And I'm going to try to convince you, again within this paragraph and the next, that these moments, these creations, occur so infrequently as to be noticeable when they do occur, as though one of us humans has become a bird, and has learned to fly far above the mundane terrestrial existence, into a glowing orb that has its own eternal stability... a communion with the Godhead.

In this second paragraph I will reveal the secret of sfumato, a technique developed by Da Vinci which has eluded analysis by art historians and detailed chemical analysis. Many of these analyses make the assumption that sfumato depended on some secret blend of exotic ingredients, but the truth is that it depended on a subtlety of execution. Sfumato is an outward expression of the blend of the inward and outward. There are no sharp boundaries between I and Other, and the ability to portray this recognition is at the root of Da Vinci's masterpieces.

In the third paragraph, I will return again to the theme of barbecue sauce, because I am hungry.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:16 AM on April 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Simon Schama previews the restoration in the Financial Times:

"What has been done with the museum is less a restoration with some fancy contemporary design than the inauguration of a curatorial revolution."
posted by prolific at 12:45 AM on April 4, 2013


I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview on Sunday. The new building looks fantastic, and it's simply wonderful to see everything again. The objects (furniture, etc) are now much better integrated with the paintings rather than being in separate rooms, which helps put everything in better context.

For the last ten years, Amsterdam has seen long term closures of the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk, the Maritime Museum, and even the van Gogh Musuem has been closed for the last six months due to renovation. Finally, next month, after what seems like an age, we'll have all our museums back again.
posted by daveje at 12:48 AM on April 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you ever have a little extra time in Schiphol Airport and are traveling internationally I highly recommend the mini Rijksmuseum that is in the airport.

*Paging passenger Confess, Fletch. Passenger Confess, Fletch report immediately to Gate C-25. You are delaying your flight. Please report immediately to Gate C-25 or we will off-load your baggage.*
posted by three blind mice at 1:54 AM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just in time for my 13 hour stopover in Amsterdam.
posted by jeather at 4:41 AM on April 4, 2013


Gorgeous museum, neato flashmob. Am I the only one imagining Mr. Pijbes as Dr. Phibes?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:52 AM on April 4, 2013


"The Night Watch", King Crimson
posted by dfan at 6:03 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Finally, next month, after what seems like an age, we'll have all our museums back again.

Just in time for the Hague to have the Mauritshuis close (ok ok, it has been closed for a while already).
posted by wingless_angel at 6:16 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


And it's nice that they used the music of a composer of Dutch descent as background.
posted by Omon Ra at 7:00 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


God, finally. The Rijksmusuem has been closed for EVER. I have an excuse to go back to Holland now (not that one needs an excuse but)

The cover of Pratchett's Discworld book Night Watch pays homage to the painting
posted by The Whelk at 7:46 AM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank freaking goodness. Now when friends visit and ask me to play tourguide I don't have to plead ignorance and insist that there's nothing good to do until 1am.
seriously tho see you guys at Trouw tomorrow rite?
posted by 1adam12 at 8:29 AM on April 4, 2013


Oh man, according to the documentary Rembrandt's J'Accuse that painting lays bare a sinister plot of the day.

Peter Greenaway's "research" for this "documentary" amounted to looking at the painting for a long time and making up a story he thought was cool. Which is fine, so long as no one is tricked into thinking he's making a real historical argument.
posted by yoink at 9:28 AM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Heel leuk!
posted by humboldt32 at 9:47 AM on April 4, 2013


If you ever have a little extra time in Schiphol Airport and are traveling internationally I highly recommend the mini Rijksmuseum that is in the airport.

I actually did have a little extra time om Schiphol Airport last week and remembered this comment and found the tiny exhibition and spent a very nice thirty minutes or so in there. It was a nice end to two very busy days, so thanks!
posted by shelleycat at 4:18 AM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older Will online education dampen the college experienc...  |  The Story of the Turban (slyt)... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments