Rijks, Masters of the Golden Age is a groundbreaking art publication combining the finest materials, the most innovative techniques and the testimonies of thought leaders and craft masters from around the world.

Amsterdam, 8th April 2016 – Today, the internationally renowned designer Marcel Wanders launches his latest project in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum – the unique art publication Rijks, Masters of the Golden Age, which pays homage to the 17th-century Dutch masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum’s prestigious Gallery of Honour. Three years in the making, the project was born of Marcel Wanders’ profound appreciation for this outstanding cultural heritage and its timeless significance. “This book is about how the greatest masterpieces influence how we see the world today,” says Marcel Wanders. “I believe the power of these works goes beyond their presentation. They have an inherent quality that catches your eye and pulls you in. They have star power,” museum director Wim Pijbes says.

The book brings us eye to eye with over 60 iconic paintings such as Rembrandt’s Night Watch and Vermeer’s Milkmaid. Each piece is experienced up close with the most surprising detail, as the finest printing techniques and thoughtful perspectives transport these paintings from a different age and vividly bring them to life. Leading contemporary critical thinkers from the worlds of philosophy, art, film, food, trend, business and design explain how their perception of the world has been influenced by these paintings with each of the 30 renowned experts focusing on an individual artwork. Featuring writings of Ferran Adrià, David Allen, Alain de Botton, Anton Corbijn, Angela Missoni, Jimmy Nelson, Erwin Olaf and many more, the testimonies add a new way of seeing not only these masterpieces, but also life itself.

The book sets a new benchmark for art books with its materials, production techniques and contemporary writings. Lavishly produced in genuine leather, beautiful hand-written calligraphy, and the finest printing technique and paper. There are three editions of the book.

First, a Unique Art Edition crafted completely by hand with a gold-plated emblem and gold plating and handwritten calligraphy. Available upon request, this version weighs 40 kilograms and measures 70 x 50 x 9 cm (height x width x length). Personalized touches can include, among others, handwritten calligraphy in one’s own language, one’s family coat of arms and unique art works by the contributors to the book.

The Limited Edition at 35 kilograms yet keeping the same dimensions, has silver plating, is printed with the finest high-pigmented inks, and is commercially available from April 2016. Both the Unique Art and the Limited Edition come with a specially designed table stand, protective sleeve and a Behind the Scenes book, in which the 30 stories of thought leaders and masters of crafts can be read.

Finally, an unlimited 5-kilogram edition of Rijks, Masters of the Golden Age for wider distribution and measuring 33.2 x 23.7 x 5 cm (height x width x length) is available from September 2016.

Rijks, Masters of the Golden Age is a special initiative and project of Marcel Wanders in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum and Steven Hond.


The full list of contributors is as follows (in alphabetical order):

Ferran Adrià ∙ elBulli Chef
Philip Akkerman∙ Painter
David Allen ∙ Productivity Guru
Pierre Audi ∙ Artistic Director of the Dutch National Opera
Paul Bennett ∙ Chief Creative Officer at IDEO
Jan de Bont ∙ Film Director
Alain de Botton ∙ Philosopher, Critical Thinker
Anton Corbijn ∙ Photographer, Film Director
Marlies Dekkers ∙ Lingerie Designer, Entrepreneur
Wim Delvoye ∙ Visual Artist
Lidewij Edelkoort ∙ Trend Watcher
Han Feng ∙ Fashion Designer
Peter Guidi ∙ Jazz Musician
Christiaan Houtenbos ∙ Hair Stylist
Marko Kassenaar ∙ Art Educator, Author
Natasja Kensmil ∙ Visual Artist
Angela Missoni ∙ Fashion Designer
Jimmy Nelson ∙ Photographer
Angela Neustatter ∙ Journalist, Author
Ryu Niimi ∙ OPAM Museum Director
Erwin Olaf ∙ Photographer
Wim Pijbes ∙ Director Rijksmuseum
Joe Pine ∙ Author, Critical Thinker and Lecturer
Jérôme Sans ∙ Curator
Gary Schwartz ∙ Art Historian Golden Age
Nina Siegal ∙ Author, Editor, Journalist
Jan Six ∙ Old Masters Specialist, Curator
Jop Ubbens ∙ Director Christie’s Amsterdam
Marcel Wanders ∙ Product and Interior Designer, Art Director
Zak Yacoob ∙ Former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Anti-Apartheid Activist

Hand-calligraphy by: Brody Neuenschwander and Massimo Polello



Quotes selection (in alphabetical author order):

On a plate, as in a painting, there are colours, textures, feelings, volumes, intentions, interactions, dialogues and things left unsaid, composition, thinking, style, influences, intellectual games, stories, trends, interpretations, tastes and memories.
The plate and the painting share almost everything, except for smell and taste

Ferran Adrià ∙ elBulli Chef
on Still Life with Cheese (c. 1615) by Floris Claeszoon Van Dijck




“I like the patient brushstroke of the endless bricks.”
I remember being delighted to be alone with it. It was so modest, so ordinary, so loveable. And as time passes by I like it more and more, because its message of “ordinary life can be good” becomes more important as my life becomes simultaneously more filled with disappointment and more filled with success.”

Alain de Botton ∙ Philosopher, Critical Thinker
on View of Houses in Delft, known as The Little Street (1658) by Johannes Vermeer




The clouds are dark, leaden and ominous. But through them you see strips of clear blue light settling on the snow and highlighting the horizon. It’s all about the subtle play of light in that painting.
Is it a foreboding of a new Ice Age to come or just the opposite, judging by the lighter horizon?
Pessimism and optimism are both in it.”

Anton Corbijn ∙ Photographer and Film Director
on Winter Landscape (ca. 1665) by Jacob Isaackszoon van Ruisdael




“The coming together of different generations,
with the matriarch at the centre of the scene, is timeless.”

Angela Missoni ∙ Fashion Designer
on The Feast of Saint Nicholas (1665-68) by Jan Havickszoon Steen




If modernism considers the past irrelevant,
what does that mean tomorrow for the things we create today?

Marcel Wanders ∙ Product and Interior Designer, and Art Director


Rijks, Masters of the Golden Age

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Rijks, Masters of the Golden Age

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Rijks, Masters of the Golden Age

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