All the Rembrandts: The Rijksmuseum Puts All 400 Rembrandts It Owns on Display for the First Time

If you’ve want­ed to see some Rem­brandts, as most every art lover has, you’ve want­ed to go to the Rijksmu­se­um. The jew­el in the crown of the Nether­lands’ most pop­u­lar muse­um must sure­ly be Rem­brandt’s mas­ter­piece The Night Watch, whose lat­est restora­tion will stream live this sum­mer. But Rem­brandt enthu­si­asts plan­ning their first trip to the Rijksmu­se­um only after the com­ple­tion of that restora­tion may want to recon­sid­er, giv­en that between now and June, they can see not just some Rem­brandts, but all the Rem­brandts.

“Rijksmu­se­um marks the 350th anniver­sary of Rembrandt’s death in 2019 with ‘Year of Rem­brandt,’” says the muse­um’s site. “The year-long cel­e­bra­tion opens with All the Rem­brandts, in which the Rijksmu­se­um will present for the first time an exhi­bi­tion of all 22 paint­ings, 60 draw­ings and more than 300 best exam­ples of Rembrandt’s prints in its col­lec­tion.”

And “giv­en the extreme rar­i­ty that many of these del­i­cate draw­ings and prints go on dis­play, All the Rem­brandts offers a once-in-a-life­time oppor­tu­ni­ty to glean an unpar­al­leled per­spec­tive on Rem­brandt the artist, the human, the sto­ry­teller, the inno­va­tor.”

As a project, assem­bling all 400 of its Rem­brandts into a sin­gle coher­ent exhi­bi­tion aligns with the impres­sive ambi­tion the Rijksmu­se­um has shown in oth­er areas, from restora­tion to dig­i­ti­za­tion. Vis­i­tors will expe­ri­ence not just the scope of the work of that Dutch mas­ter among Dutch mas­ters, but the span of his life. The first sec­tion, fea­tur­ing Rem­brandt’s self-por­traits, “presents the mile­stones of his career as a young artist”; the sec­ond “focus­es on Rembrandt’s sur­round­ings and the peo­ple in his life,” fam­i­ly, friends, his wife, and even the vari­ety of char­ac­ters that pop­u­lat­ed the 17th-cen­tu­ry Ams­ter­dam around him; the third and final sec­tion reveals Rem­brandt the sto­ry­teller, as seen in his paint­ings inspired by the Old Tes­ta­ment. But he may nev­er have told a more endur­ing­ly fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ry than he did in The Night Watch, which will nat­u­ral­ly retain its pride of place amid All the Rem­brandts.

“The 11- by 15-foot large paint­ing shows a flur­ry of activ­i­ty,”’s Maris­sa Fes­senden writes of that paint­ing. “In the cen­ter of the scene, a cap­tain gives orders to a lieu­tenant as the two stride for­ward. A mus­ket goes off just behind the lieu­tenan­t’s hat, addi­tion­al fig­ures behind the main ones are vis­i­ble only as limbs or par­tial faces. A boy runs off to the side with a gun­pow­der horn and a dog cow­ers near a drum­mer beat­ing out a rhythm.” That same degree of excite­ment will no doubt be on dis­play among the crowds drawn by All the Rem­brandts itself. If you plan on join­ing them, con­sid­er down­load­ing the Rijksmu­se­um’s audio tour app first. If you can’t make it — or if you must insist on wait­ing to see the ful­ly restored Night Watch — you can still view all the Rijksmu­se­um’s Rem­brandts online.

via Smithsonian/Artnet

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Rijksmu­se­um Dig­i­tizes & Makes Free Online 361,000 Works of Art, Mas­ter­pieces by Rem­brandt Includ­ed!

The Rijksmu­se­um Puts 125,000 Dutch Mas­ter­pieces Online, and Lets You Remix Its Art

What Makes The Night Watch Rembrandt’s Mas­ter­piece

Rembrandt’s Mas­ter­piece, The Night Watch, Will Get Restored and You Can Watch It Hap­pen Live, Online

A Final Wish: Ter­mi­nal­ly Ill Patients Vis­it Rembrandt’s Paint­ings in the Rijksmu­se­um One Last Time

300+ Etch­ings by Rem­brandt Now Free Online, Thanks to the Mor­gan Library & Muse­um

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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