On the embankment of one of the canals of Amsterdam, a huge building stretches for a whole block. The building does not differ in special architectural merits, but naturally enters into the general appearance of the city. it The Rijksmuseum is one of the largest art museums in the world..
Already in the middle of the last century, fifty years after the creation of the museum, it was clear that the beautiful old Trippenhays, in which he was located, could not accommodate rapidly growing collections. In 1876 - 1885, the architect Kuypers built a giant brick building. Repeatedly renovated and redone inside, it continues to serve to this day.
Amsterdam Rijksmuseum (Call of the Rijksmuseum) - This is a museum of art history of the Northern Netherlands. In its halls you can get an unusually wide idea of the artistic development of the country. As already mentioned, little has been preserved here from the Middle Ages. Only since the XV century, our information on the artistic development of these lands become more or less detailed and complete. The museum displays examples of wooden and stone sculptures that once adorned the altars of churches, works of jewelers and gold-embroidered vestments of the clergy.
However, the greatest interest is undoubtedly painting. Already in the 15th century, easel painting was a leading field of art in the Northern Netherlands, and easel works are known to be much better suited for museum displays than wall paintings or monumental sculptures designed to decorate a particular building. The latter lose some of their artistic expression when they are transferred to the museum, torn from the original architectural environment. Due to the predominance of easel works, Dutch art can be shown in the museum more fully than the art of many other countries.
In the XV-XVI centuries, the culture and art of the Northern and Southern Netherlands (that is, modern Holland and Belgium) is more or less a single whole, and local schools in the North are strongly influenced by large art centers that flourish in the South. Just as we call the Northern Netherlands Holland, the name of the most significant, advanced of the areas included in them - Flanders, is usually extended to the Southern Netherlands. Already in this early era, Dutch painters differ from their Flemish counterparts in their greater intimacy, simplicity and immediacy of their works.
In the North, the first major artist with whose work we are well acquainted was Gertchen that Sint Jane (that is, "little Gerrit from the monastery of St. John"). Gertchen worked in Harlem in the 80s of the 15th century; there is still preserved a small, darkened church of the monastery, in which he was a novice.
Among the first paintings purchased in 1808 by order Louis Napoleon, there was one curious thing included in the inventory of the museum under the following name: “Jan van Eyck. Gothic temple with figures". Jan van Eyck, the great founder of the Dutch school of painting, author of the Ghent Altar, was at that time almost the only Dutch artist of the 15th century whose name was widely known to collectors; he was credited with any thing that seemed old enough. This time he was considered the author of "St. family »work Gerthen.
Written on a small wooden board, Gertchen's work does not reproduce the canonical text of the Gospel, but an apocryphal legend. According to this legend, sv. Anna, the mother of Mary, had two more daughters, whose children later became apostles - disciples of Christ.
In the interior of the Gothic church (the church is “the house of God”), the artist places the elderly Anna, her three daughters, their husbands and children. Not only children, but also adults are distinguished by clear serenity and naivety. Women are nursing babies, old Anna is resting from reading, putting her glasses on the opened book. On the stone floor of a slender temple, in the very middle of the picture, are three small boys in long warm shirts and woolen stockings with red patches on their heels; but the future apostles Paul, James, and John play with their attributes — a sword, a barrel, and a cup. They have the charm of funny living kids. With delightful innocent spontaneity, Gertchen combines reality and fantasy, everyday details and the magnificent architecture of the temple. For him, everything is interesting and attractive - both great and small. Nearby are two more works by Gertchen: “The Root of Jesse” and “The Adoration of the Magi” with its wonderful landscape background.
The work of a major Dutch artist who worked in the last quarter of the 15th century and known as Master Virgo inter Virgines. The conditional “name” of the anonym comes from a painting that was still in the National Art Gallery in 1801 and which came from there to the Rijksmuseum. This is “Mary with the Baby and the Holy Virgin”, or in Latin “Virgo inter Virgines” (“Virgin among the Virgin”).
Like the retinue of court ladies, the Mother of God is surrounded by luxuriously dressed saints Catherine, Cecilia, Barbara and Ursula. Their attributes (the wheel on which St. Catherine died; an arrow - a symbol of the martyrdom of St. Ursula) are turned into elegant gold jewelry. Slender tender women froze in thought, from which even a game with a miniature baby can not get them out. The artist repeats his favorite, very unusual type of female face with an excessively large convex forehead, thin eyebrows and half-open, slightly swollen eyelids. Pale faces, dim, often grayish colors, among which even the red color loses its sonority - all this causes the viewer a strange feeling of a slightly sad, cold detachment from everything earthly. In its internal structure, the picture is opposed to the works of Gerthen, hanging in the same room.
In the work of both masters, fantasy plays a big role. For the Master Virgo inter Virgines, it is refined and conventional, like the madrigal of the court poet of that time, for Gertchen it is imbued with real impressions and is close to a lively, varied fantasy of a folk tale. In the works of many of Gertchen's compatriots, scenes from Christian legends look as if they were happening in an environment surrounding the artist and familiar to him. The author of a series of paintings depicting "The Seven Works of Mercy" is especially consistent with this principle.
The series was performed in 1504 for church of st. Lawrence in Alkmaar, therefore, its author is conventionally called the Master from Alkmaar. Seven paintings make up the frieze. On each of them, the pious burghers, fulfilling Christ's covenant, either give clothes to the poor, or feed the hungry, or bury the dead, etc. All this happens on the clean, cobblestone-paved streets of the Dutch city. Each of the “works of mercy”, due to its everyday specificity, resembles a genre scene. In the crowd of ugly beggars, blind and crippled, there is one person who does not take part in the action, which the others do not notice. This is Christ. According to the artist and his customers, he is invisibly present here, recalling the religious meaning of what is happening. The dry work of the Master from Alkmaar introduces us to the world of everyday prose and severe moral duty, remotely anticipating some features of Dutch art of the 17th century.
Rijksmuseum He has several works by the largest Dutch artist of the beginning of the 16th century - Luke Leiden (possibly, 1489-1533). Among them, the Sermon in the Church is especially interesting. The Renaissance church building fills only two-thirds of the background; on the far right, you can see the street where a richly dressed nobleman gives alms to the poor. In the foreground the same nobleman with an intelligent, thin face is depicted standing at the right edge of the picture; taking off his hat he listens to a church sermon. It is possible that the artist worked for this man, and the group of people around him consists of portraits of his family and friends. The listeners, seated in a semicircle in front of the department, noticeably differ from them: here there are strange freaks and a lively child; a beautiful young woman looks at the viewer with a smile, not paying attention to the words of the preacher; finally, another woman is sleeping, and a small owl sits on her head - a symbol of cheating and stupidity in Dutch folklore. This strange genre scene, full of obscure hints, is written in translucent liquid strokes of light, vague colors; and the brushstroke and color convey the alarming mood characteristic of Luke Leiden's painting.
The largest landscape painter of the first half of the 17th century was Jan van Goyen (1596-1656). In 1641 he wrote his "Long View with Two Oaks." This is an unremarkable area with sand dunes typical of the Dutch coast. At the top of the dune, at the foot of the clumsy old oaks, two travelers stopped to rest; the receding figure of the third passer-by takes our gaze into the distance, to the flat coast, where on the horizon, to the left, a gleaming streak of water is visible. Clouds drag the expanses of the sky, through them a ray of sunlight breaks through the dune and the powerful semi-dried trunks. The artist, as it were, studies them from close range, tracing the bumps of the bark, the almost humanly expressive, intense bend of the knots. At the same time, the wide open spaces were perceived as their natural environment and this “kinship” with infinite space helps us to feel the greatness and power of giant trees.
Along with its main sections - old Dutch art and Dutch painting of the XVII century - The Rijksmuseum has a significant collection of Dutch paintings XVIII, XIX and XX centuries. Among the works of the XVIII century are of interest to the work of Cornelis Trost (1697-1750), the author of portraits and genre scenes, often reproducing episodes from theatrical performances. Following the traditions of the previous century, Trost writes a huge group portrait of the trustees of the shelter in Amsterdam (1729). However, much more interesting and attractive is a small sketch of one of the trustees - Jan Lepeltak, hanging in the same hall. It is written easily and naturally. In it more than in a large portrait, the influence of the national pictorial tradition is noticeable.
There are works by foreign masters in the Rijksmuseum - Italians, Spaniards, Flemings. There are few of them, but some of them cannot go unnoticed: paired portraits of the Florentine architect Giuliano da Sangallo and his father Francesco Giamberti, works by Piero di Coeimo (1462-1521), The Crucifixion by El Greco (1541-1614), a series of portraits of Van Dyck (1599-1641), "Portrait of Don Ramon Satue" (1823), Goya (1746-1828), etc. However, no matter how interesting they are, they are only a secondary, side branch in the Rijksmuseum collection.