The Friday Fillip: Dutch Treat

The great museums of the world are putting their riches online — at least, so many of them as can be represented by photographs or digital copies. If the internet was always a Wunderkamer, it is now almost insanely rich with representations of beautiful and potent objects. Of course, the map is not the territory — and neither does a photograph of a great work of art pack anything like the emotional punch of the work in the flesh, so to speak. That said, it’s still wonderful to roam through the riches of the Rijksmuseum, for example, which is what this fillip will invite you to do.


Specifically, I invite you to come at the collection in a more hands-on way, something provided by the museum’s Rijks Studio website. Through this portal you can: gather together in one spot your favourite items, and let others see your curatorial skills; select any item or portion thereof to crop or manipulate in various ways; download a high resolution version of an image to your computer; or order a reproduction of a work or your chosen detail from it. There are sets put together by others, to get you inspired, an an explanatory page (in English) that will get you started, and a brief explanatory video (in Dutch, but you’ll manage: to “download” is “downloaden,” for example):

Essentially, though, the process is: you start in the main museum site — the “Explore the Collection” page is a good entry point — and when you come across something that interests you, you save it to your Rijks Studio (having created an account) or you download it to your computer. The possibilities for something so mundane as a screensaver or computer wallpaper are endless.

For those who like a little law with their culture, Valerie Hayaert has put together a set that assembles “Allegories of Justice.” But there are also sets featuring music, Japan, flowers, etc. etc.

So take a trip to the museum. Take the whole family. It’s free — a new kind of Dutch treat.

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