Free entry to Rijksmuseum on Saturday to welcome Rembrandt's The Standard Bearer
The Rembrandt van Rijn painting The Standard Bearer is arriving at the Rijksmuseum on Friday, and the museum is celebrating with a free open day on Saturday, June 17. “You can feel the courage, swagger, and rebelliousness bursting from the canvas! But what else makes The Standard Bearer so special? Come and see it on our free open day!” the Rijksmuseum said.
The Rijksmuseum described The Standard Bearer as Rembrandt’s prelude to The Night Watch, calling it extra special that the two paintings hang together in the museum’s Gallery of Honor.
The purchase of The Standard Bearer from the Rothchild family was rather controversial, with the Dutch State contributing 150 million euros of the total 175 million purchase price. Parties in the lower house of the Dutch parliament and Senate criticized the timing of the purchase, pointing out that the government was pushing 150 million euros into acquiring one artwork. At the same time, many artists, musicians, performers, and other workers in the cultural sector struggled to make ends meet in the then-still-in-force coronavirus lockdowns.
Nevertheless, the Rijksmuseum is thrilled with the painting’s arrival, calling it a “key work” by the Dutch master. “He was an in-demand portrait painter in Amsterdam at the time, but he wanted to carve a new artistic path for himself - he probably used this painting to showcase his other skills and ambitions.”
“The brushstrokes are casual, even nonchalant. Together with Rembrandt’s intentional scratches in the paint and his use of light to achieve a three-dimensional effect, they make for a virtuosic display of his unique style,” the Rijksmuseum said.
As part of the celebratory welcome of The Standard Bearer, the Rijksmuseum asked schoolchildren in the Netherlands to design their own banners and flags on themes important to them. “A standard bearer stood for something he believed in. What do you stand for?” the museum asked 9 to 12-year-olds in the country. A selection of entries will also be displayed in the Rijksmuseum this weekend.