XXL Paper presents the biggest works on paper from the Rijksmuseum collection – very few of them have ever been exhibited before, because of their size.
The actual design drawings for the stained-glass windows of Haarlem’s St Bavokerk – dating from 1541 – are so huge that the museum had to use an enormous skateboard ramp to display them. Other large works appearing in the exhibition include Michiel Coxie’s 2.5 square metre carpet design Scipio Africanus Lands at Carthage (1555) and a six-meter-tall woodcut from 1535 depicting the Robert Péril section of the royal line of the House of Habsburg. The display will also include several splendid city views, including the over two-metre-wide Amstelodamum: View of Amsterdam made in 1606 by Jan Saenredam and a map of Venice by Jacopo de Barbari dating from 1500 and depicting the city from an aerial perspective. Also on show will be the largest panoramas from the eighteenth-century Atlas Gordon: the almost eight meter Panorama of Cape Town and Surroundings as Seen from the Sea.
Paper was also frequently used as a working material. There are, for instance, cartoons, full-size design drawings of stained-glass windows and a tapestry. The enormous cartoons for the windows of the Sint Bavo Church in Haarlem date from the sixteenth century. The cartoons for the windows of the Dom church in Utrecht were designed by Richard Roland Holst in the early twentieth century. These enormous works are not only impressive to look at, but also illustrate that in 400 years, the craft of making stained glass windows has hardly changed.
Related CODART publications
Maud van Suylen and Manon van der Mullen, “On the Largest Paper: The Exhibition XXL Paper at the Rijksmuseum”, CODARTfeatures, July 2022.