Rijks Museum or Ryks Museum (both: rĪks) [key], Dutch national museum in Amsterdam, founded in 1808 by Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, king of Holland, as the Great Royal Museum in the Royal Palace. In the same year, 225 paintings from the National Museum in The Hague (est. 1798) were added to the collection, and the city of Amsterdam contributed seven paintings, including Rembrandt's Company of Capt. Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch (1642; popularly known as The Night Watch ) and Syndics of the Drapers' Guild (1662). In 1815 the museum was named the Rijks Museum (state museum) and housed (1817–85) in the Trippenhuis, a 17th-century mansion. The present building, a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles designed by P. J. H. Cuypers, was opened in 1885 to accommodate the fast-growing collection. The collection of the Netherlands Museum of History and Art from The Hague, housed in the same building and opened two years later, was soon absorbed by the Rijks Museum as its Dutch history, sculpture, and applied arts divisions.
The Rijks Museum is famous for its outstanding collection of Dutch paintings and drawings from the 15th to the 19th cent., with particular emphasis on masterworks of the 17th cent. Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Vermeer, Ruisdael, Jan Steen, the Dutch primitives, and many others are well represented. Most paintings done after 1850 have been transferred on loan to the Municipal Museum of Amsterdam. The Rijks Museum also has a small group of paintings by other European masters and a fine collection of Asian art.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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