To be relevant beyond our time here is the greatest achievement of mankind. To endure with significance and bring meaning to future generations and their passions is why we celebrate the Rijksmuseum’s Gallery of Honour today. More than a book, Rijks, Masters of the Golden Age, is a work of art in itself, which shares with us the greatest masterpieces of the past and reveals how they influence how we see the world today. Experience each piece 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. The importance of the magnificent selection found within these pages is equally as beautiful and relatable as the story of how this book came to be.


Marcel Wanders, the creator of this splendidly ornate volume, presents his profound appreciation for this outstanding cultural heritage and its timeless significance by offering the insight for its conception. Three years in the making, Rijks, Masters of the Golden Age is truly a labour of love. With the museum reopening its doors in 2013 after a ten-year renovation, the book presents the collection without hierarchy and the design combines the ageless master paintings with professional perspectives set in different styles of calligraphy.

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. 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 calligraphy in the book of the quotes of the contributors is made by Brody Neuenschwander and Massimo Polello.


Full list of Contributors (in alphabetical order):

Ferran Adrià ∙ elBulli Chef

Philip Akkerman∙ Painter (added 14-10-2015)

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 and Film Director

Marlies Dekkers ∙ Lingerie Designer and 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 and Journalist

Jan Six ∙ Old Masters Specialist and Curator

Jop Ubbens ∙ Director Christies Amsterdam

Marcel Wanders ∙ Product and Interior Designer, and Art Director

Zak Yacoob ∙ Former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and Anti-Apartheid Activist


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







Unique Art Edition


Limited Edition


Coffee Table Book

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