From the museum’s press release, 13 December 2012
From 26 January the Rembrandt House Museum will be showing a magnificent selection of views of Amsterdam from the seventeenth to the twentieth century to mark the 400th anniversary of Amsterdam’s canals. The sheets will be coming from the Royal Antiquarian Society (KOG) in Amsterdam, which owns a sizeable art collection that includes a large group of topographical drawings of the capital. It is the first time for almost 50 years that the outside world can again enjoy these extraordinary drawings. The last exhibition was in 1966.
Since the seventeenth century countless draughtsmen have pictured Amsterdam inside and out. The high point was reached in the eighteenth century with accurately executed, colourful cityscapes in which the sun always seemed to be shining. Visitors to the exhibition will be transported from the outskirts of the city, with views of the canals around the bulwarks, to the centre with views of the Amstel and the ring of canals. The topographical draughtsmen represented in the exhibition – including Jan van Call (1656-1703), Reinier Vinkeles (1741-1816), Jan de Beijer (1703-1780), Johannes Schouten (1716-1792), Jacob Cats (1741-1799) and Gerrit Lamberts (1776-1850) – show how the city looked centuries ago and (although often still recognizable) how much some places have changed over time.
A book is being published to coincide with the exhibition in which all of the drawings will be depicted in colour with a photograph of how they look today beside each one. The book will also contain a description by Bert Gerlagh (City Archives) of the development of Amsterdam from the time of the construction of the canals. Leonoor van Oosterzee (Rembrandt House Museum) will discuss the development of topographical drawings from the seventeenth century onwards.