AMSTERDAM (AP) The Rijksmuseum, the National Museum of the Netherlands, is finally set to reopen to the public, with Rembrandt van Rijn masterpiece Night Watch reclaiming its place of pride. The giant painting hangs in the same central position it did before an epic, decade long, 375 million ($480 million) makeover, flanked by works by Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen and thousands of other Dutch cultural and artistic artifacts. The 19th century building red brick exterior, which resembles a fairy tale castle, has been restored but left intact.
gallery is a who who of Dutch masters, from landscape masters to portraitists. Highlights include Vermeer delicate, quiet (1660), in which the act of pouring milk becomes an almost religious act; as well as larger and more raucous works like Steen The Merry Family (1668) and Frans Hals Merry Drinke.
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Inside, twin central courtyards that had been gradually filled with extra floors as the museum grew over the years have been reclaimed. The clutter has been stripped away to let natural light flood into the center of the museum. Despite reopening the courtyard, the museum preserved as much exhibition space as before by reclaiming some areas which had been used for offices. From hand painted details on every pillar, to newly laid mosaic floors and stained glass windows, to revitalizing the displays themselves, every part of the museum has been restored or rethought. Pijbes said that almost never has a national museum undergone such a far reaching facelift, with every single one of the 8,000 artifacts and pieces of art on display coming to rest in a different spot with one exception: Night Watch itself. That enormous canvas 4. 35 meters wide and 3. 79 meters high (14.
86 x 12. 43 feet) portrays a company of Amsterdam volunteer militiamen. It stands at the end of the museum central gallery, just as it did in the original 1885 design by architect Pierre Cuypers. The painting placement reflects Dutch history, a crowning achievement of the Golden Age when the Netherlands was a major naval power and Amsterdam was one of the world most influential and wealthy cities. Gallery of Honor is a kind of basilica that ends not with a Christian display, but a civilian display: Rembrandt Watch, Pijbes said. The symbolism is that there is no one king that has the power, that the Netherlands is a country where an early republic decided a Womens Air Max Dynasty
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