Line at the RijksmuseumPosted: August 3, 2019
Before leaving Amsterdam, I spent a rainy afternoon at the Rijksmuseum. I think everyone in the city had the same idea because it was pretty crowded, especially in front of key paintings like the tiny Vermeers or the Van Gogh self-portrait, and most evident in the room with Rembrandt’s glass-enclosed The Night Watch, which is being x-rayed in advance of its restoration.
Lately when I visit museums I bring along a sketchbook and a few drawing tools. I try to check if working with wet media is permitted, and if not I draw in pencil or black line, adding colour later. I couldn’t find the info for the Rijksmuseum, so just to be safe, I drew with a brush pen and threw some wash on the sketches on my long flight home.
Drawing my favourite paintings and objects is a way to take the time to study them and observe details. Of course this was impossible in the really crowded areas where people were lined up four or five deep to catch a glimpse of an iconic painting like Vermeer’s The Milkmaid. But if you move away from the superstars, you can find a bench or a quiet space from which to draw, and that is how I made my way through the museum. And even though I may have missed seeing a few treasures from this rich collection of Dutch art and objects, what I did see, I appreciated more fully because I took the time to observe, read, draw and discover. There were many more things I could have added to this museum spread but I ran out of time (and room on my page), but I’m pretty certain they will be there next time I visit.