CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

The Old and the New Rijksmuseum

Lecture: 5 September 2013

Information from the organizers, 13 August 2013

On 5 September the Amsterdam-Maastricht Summer University, the Rijksmuseum, the RKD (Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie) and CODART organize the public lecture The old and the new Rijksmuseum by Henk van Os, the former director of the Rijksmuseum. The lecture closes the summer course The New Rijksmuseum and the RKD: Presenting and Researching 17th Century Dutch Art and History.

In 1989 Henk van Os was appointed general director of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum, a position he held until 1996. In that period he delivered a lecture about the Rijksmuseum as National Symbol on many occasions. In this lecture he pursued the question how it was possible that in a country characterized by Protestantism our National Museum was built as a cathedral with Rembrandt’s Night Watch on the high altar. He did not only pay attention to the cultural climate, in which the architect Pierre Cuypers built the Rijksmuseum in the late nineteenth century, but also to the additions and changes the museum underwent afterwards in the light of changing views on museological presentation.

After more than a century of intensive use, the museum building needed a radical makeover. In the year 2000, the government of the day gave the go-ahead. After a lengthy period of preparation, work finally started in 2004 and finished on 13 april 2013, when H.M. Queen Beatrix opened the New Rijksmuseum. The architects restored Cuypers’ clear layout and they ensured that the building is once again a coherent whole. In his present lecture Henk van Os will also briefly discuss the New Rijksmuseum and the new display in which an integral overview of art and history from the late Middle Ages to the present day is offered.

The lecture starts at 19:00. Admission is free, but registration is obligatory: or 020-620 02 25

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