Van Gogh in
The Rijksmuseum still exists and can be visited.
Van Gogh in
In July 1885, after almost a decade of construction, the Rijksmuseum opened on Stadhouderskade. Vincent travelled to Amsterdam in October of that year, to visit the museum with his friend Anton Kerssemakers because he so wished to see the works by Rembrandt van Rijn and Frans Hals again. Afterward, he wrote to his brother Theo:
“The Syndics is perfect — the finest Rembrandt — but that Jewish bride — not reckoned so much — what an intimate, what an infinitely sympathetic painting, painted — with a glowing hand. You see, in The syndics Rembrandt is true to life, although even therehe still goes into the higher — into the very highest — infinite. But yet — Rembrandt could do something else — when he didn’t have to be true in the literal sense, as he did in a portrait — when he could — make poetry — be apoet, that’s to say Creator. That’s what he is in the Jewish bride. Oh how Delacroix would have understood that very painting! What a noble sentiment, fathomlessly deep. One must have died many times to paint like this — is certainly applicable here. Still — one can speak about the paintings by Frans Hals, he always remains — on earth. Rembrandt goes so deep into the mysterious that he says things for which there are no words in any language. It is with justice that they call Rembrandt — magician— that’s no easy occupation.” Read the complete letter
Vincent was already familiar with many of the works he saw in the Rijksmuseum because they had been publically exhibited in the Trippenhuis or Museum van der Hoop while he was living in Amsterdam in 1877–1878.
Ronald de Leeuw
Reindert Groot, Teio Meedendorp
Reindert Groot, Sjoerd de Vries