"Hundred thousands of landscapes." Rijksmuseum Tip by breughel
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: 213 reviews and 359 photos
There is no museum in the Netherlands without landscapes and quite logically the Rijksmuseum displays some of the best Dutch landscapes in the rooms of the Eregalerij - Gallery of Honor on floor 2.
Landscapes were one of the major themes of the Dutch 17th c. paintings. The Dutch Golden century produced hundred thousands of landscapes of all kinds: river views and seaside landscapes, "green" landscapes often with a cottage under some trees or a river landscape by moonlight (pic 5).
These landscapes were painted not on order but to be sold to anybody who wanted to decorate his interior. Many Dutch families owed such small sized paintings for decoration.
The landscapes are one the reasons why I prefer the Dutch paintings to the Flemish or Italian schools. With the years I got somewhat saturated with religious or mythological subjects. There are none of these subjects among the paintings of the Gouden Eeuw.
I was quite happy to meet again some of the best Dutch landscapes.
First of all the "Molen bij Wijk bij Duurstede" by Jacob van Ruisdael (pic 1). This is probably the world most famous wind mill painting. Here you have united all Dutch landscape elements: lowlands, a river (the Lek) and the grey sky.
I must say that living under that grey rainy sky I prefer the "Rivierlandschap met ruiters" by Aelbert Cuyp (pic 2) a sunlit river landscape. One might think this is an Italian landscape but it is the Rhine near Nijmegen.
Another speciality of Dutch painters was painting church interiors. This is strange and a paradox because many churches in the Northern Netherlands had been stripped of their decoration when the Calvinists took them over from the Catholics.
In the history of the Northern Netherlands this is referred to as "beeldstormers" or iconoclasts (pic 3). After taking away statues, paintings and other decoration elements the walls were just chalked white. Pieter Saenredam specialized in these very sober church interiors (pics 4).
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