Blue Macaw

Meissener Porzellan Manufaktur, 1731, BK-17496

German scientists discovered the ingredients of Chinese porcelain in the 18th century. Elector August the Strong was such a fan of this hard, translucent white material that he filled his Japanese Palace in Dresden with porcelain objects. In the 1730s, he had a series of large birds and animals…

A Windmill on a Polder Waterway,…

Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël, c. 1889, painting, SK-A-1505

‘Our country is colourful, juicy, fat. (...) I repeat, our country is not dull, not even in dull weather, the dunes are not dull either’, Constant Gabriël wrote in a letter. Unlike many artists of the Hague School, he preferred painting fine summer days. Here there are two: the grass, sky and…

Girl in a Large Hat

Caesar Boëtius van Everdingen, c. 1645 - c. 1650, painting, SK-A-5005

This woman with her wide sunhat and seductive, bared shoulder is similar to the enticing shepherdesses that often appear in Dutch paintings. She proffers a small basket of fruit to the viewer in an unmistakably erotic gesture. The picture was originally intended to be displayed high on a wall, above…

Two temple guardians

anonymous, c. 1300 - c. 1400, AK-RAK-2007-1-B

These guards stand at the entrance to a temple to ward off evil. They are holding a vajra, with which to crush ignorance. Their open and shut mouths represent the first and last letters of the Japanese script: A and N: this symbolises the totality of sounds and letters, of knowledge. Worshippers who…

Javaanse hoffunctionarissen

anonymous, c. 1820 - c. 1870, painting, NG-2010-41

Clothes make the man, so too in Indonesia. These are not actual portraits, but types. In addition to revealing the region these men come from, the meticulously painted clothes and batik motifs also provide information about their rank and status. These proud, confident figures are unusual: in…

Justice

Artus Quellinus (I), c. 1656, BK-AM-51-5

The Batavians Defeating the Romans…

Otto van Veen, 1600 - 1613, painting, SK-A-424

Jan van Speijk steekt de lont in…

Jacobus Schoemaker Doyer, 1831 - 1850, painting, SK-C-222

Nicolaes van der Borght, Merchant…

Anthony van Dyck, 1625 - 1635, painting, SK-A-101

Wandtafel van verguld lindehout met…

anonymous, 1690 - 1710, furniture, BK-1975-80