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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
The Rijksmuseum (National Museum of the Netherlands) is a classic architectural wonder that houses over a million art works. The museum (gallery), located in the cultural center of Amsterdam, boasts a magnificent collection of works from around the world and throughout the centuries, including the works of the seventeenth-century Dutch Masters; Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals and many others. A cathedral-like building, the ambiance of the space exudes historical and artistic reverence.
The focal point of the gallery space is the Front Hall, the Gallery of Honor, and the Rembrandt Hall where the Netherlands, from the seventeenth-century, the Dutch Golden Age, reflects a proud era of Dutch history, not just in its art, but also in the fine crafts such as silverware, furniture, earthenware and fine tapestries. The other galleries in the Rijksmuseum trace historical eras through the centuries from medieval times to current contemporary works. There is also a gallery devoted to Asian works. The special collections gallery is a surprise. It features many unique and unusual artifacts, like model ships, porcelain tea sets, engraved glass and silver, working magic lanterns and a silent disco. “You will feel like a child in a toy store.”
Art historian Marko Kassenaar has produced a marvellous guide to one of the world’s great art treasures. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam: Highlights of the Collection (Amsterdam Museum Guides Book 1) is both useful and informative, complete with illustrations and enticing comments about specific aspects of both the museum and the collection. The book is divided into sections, each section featuring one particular collection within the museum. A wonderful guide.