Rijksmuseum’s selection for US President’s visit

Rijksmuseum's selection for US President's visit:  Johnnes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, Jan Havicksz Steen, Bartholomeus van Bassen, Jan Havicksz Steen, Rembrandt
The current President of the United States is visiting the Netherlands (I’m reluctant to even mention his name, lest it bring out of the woodwork the internet trolls who feel that any mention of his name is a call to arms to use the comments section to decry how the Affordable Care Act marks the end of liberty as we know it, etc., etc., etc. — sigh).

At any rate, the President (you know which one) is there to attend a Nuclear Security Summit, but has taken a side tour to visit the Rijksmuseum and its world-renowned collection of Dutch art and artifacts.

The museum has taken advantage of the PR event and photo-op, and also published on its website images of a group of paintings that were the focus of the tour given the visiting President.

I don’t think they are indicative of the President’s taste in painting (I’ve never heard mention of him being particularly interested in art); I think he was actually there to view a historical document called the Act of Abjuration, on which the U.S. Declaration of Independence was in part based.

However, he was given a tour of the museum and I find it more interesting to see which pieces out of the Rijksmuseum’s superb collection the directors thought suitable for a Presidential visit.

Unfortunately, I can’t find a written description of the reasons for their choices. Some are obvious, of course, and come under the heading of the museum’s “greatest hits” — and one seems related to the signing of an official document by a legislative body, perhaps the document in question.

The choice of the street scene with the Mayor of Delft and the raucous family gathering, both by Jan Havickszs Steen, are more of a mystery to me.

You can click on any of the images in their feature to go to the large, zoomable versions, which can be downloaded (like any of their other high-res images) if you register for a free RijksStudio account (see my 2012 post on the New Rijksmuseum website).

(Images above, with detail crops: Johnnes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, Jan Havicksz Steen, Bartholomeus van Bassen, Jan Havicksz Steen, Rembrandt)

9 Replies to “Rijksmuseum’s selection for US President’s visit”

  1. I noticed yesterday that Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” was used as the backdrop for the podium from which the Prez spoke. This caught me as rather tongue-in-cheek…..just saying.

    1. W –

      Yes, amusing.

      But perhaps more importantly from my point of view, we, and the viewing public, also got a dramatic feeling for the size and dynamic power of a great work of art. I was impressed by how well the painting read, how strong the composition was, even when relegated to a backdrop for other events.

    1. Ælle,

      Yes, We spend lots of money, and cost other countries money, for international trips by the Vice-President or members of Congress, as well. If you can find the cost for visits from the Prime Minister of England, the Chancellor of Germany, or the President of France, I’m sure the cost of a visit from our President is more expensive. Excess is our middle name. (However, you can also chalk some of that up into savings on the money spent to promote those cities as tourist destinations of interest to Americans – grin.)

  2. Great group of paintings – Love that the “Conspiracy…” was up for the first time in decades. What a glorious painting.

    As far as the cost of a state visit, it’s certainly far less than any Renaissance spectacle like the one between Henry VIII and Francis 1 – and we won’t be at war again like England and France in the 16th century.

    1. I was joking (well, half-joking) about how any mention of Obama is seen by some individuals as an open invitation to flood comment pages with disparaging remarks and conspiracy theories.

      I share your enthusiasm for close-ups of paintings. You’ll find reference to many others here on Lines and Colors under the categories of Eye Candy and High-res Art Images.

  3. I should have made a deal with the President… the Museum is large enough for both of us 🙂 Sure would have been more relaxing than my visit two days earlier, on Saturday, with the large tourist crowds. The crowds seemed worse in the Rijksmuseum than in any museum I have been to yet – except for the Uffizi in Florence. It is a fascinating museum, and the Night Watch is a very impressive painting indeed!

Comments are closed.