Tell me about the Rijksmuseum, Jeroen: An audio tour by the Dutch Barry White


He's the Dutch Barry White. I am enamored of this man's voice. Because he's so clearly in love with, he's so passionate about what he's describing... every brushstroke, the treatment of light and dark, from the lace-collared wealthy in the paintings to the artists in their employ in the 16th century Netherlands. The man speaking is Jeroen Krabbé, famous Dutch actor, painter and director. And he is in love with the art at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Krabbé narrates one of the museum's audio tours, offered in both English and Dutch for €5.

When I heard the timbre of his voice. I knew I was going to like this audio tour. At the start, Krabbé described how he often came to the Rijksmuseum through his childhood, as a young man, later with his own children and now with his grandchildren, and how through the years he chose a few favorites that he returned to time and time again. And how each time, through the years, he saw something new in the old favorites.

We're kindred spirits, Jeroen and me. I have that same kind of relationship with the Art Institute of Chicago, the place where my love of art began, when my godmother took me to the miniatures rooms in the basement. I have my favorites that I visit at the AIC: Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Caillebotte, Seurat, Picasso, Dali... Most of all Krabbé's description of art is appreciative, sincere and simple while also conveying a great amount of detail about society at that time. His audio tour is not overwrought with high-falutin' curator lingo that so often keeps audiences from engaging with art at a comfortable pace and level.

Listen to how Krabbé describes the painting below, Rembrandt van Rijk's The Night Watch (click for QuickTime audio file). 

The Rijksmuseum is located on the Museumplein (obviously), and its entrance is off the southwest end of the building (that's to the left, relative to the position of the photo below as the starting point). The Rijksmuseum is near completing its decade-long renovation, and of course, it remains open. As a result, only a select number of the museum's collection - what they have dubbed "The Masterpieces" - are on display. Don't feel like you won't be getting your money's worth; there are plenty of Rembrandts and Vermeers and masters from the Dutch Golden Age for hours of enjoyment (see slideshow below).

Admission for everyone under age 18 is free, too! The museum will hold its grand reopening on April 13, 2013.


And, just because I love the 70s and Barry White...