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.
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(I’ve never heard mention of him being particularly interested in art); I think he was actually there to view a historical document called the Act of Abjuration, on which the U.S. Declaration of Independence was in part based.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)