Core collection

There is continual, ongoing art historical research taking place, to obtain a greater knowledge about the art collections. The focus here is on the core collection, and making it available digitally in collaboration with the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie (National Department for Arthistorical Documentation, the Rijksdienst Cultureel Erfgoed (National Department Cultural Heritage) and museums which house part of the Rijksakademie collections.

Here you'll find some special pieces from the core collection:

For correct depiction of the human body, it was important for artists to study anatomy. Body proportions and the muscular system of humans and animals were taught. That the artist had to learn this in detail, becomes clear when looking at the notes depicted, from a female student, beginning of the 20th century.

Dozens of notebooks give insight into art education.
Gautier d’Agoty

The library was a vital source for information in the academy. Books and prints were used in the education of artists. This print depicts a woman with a anatomized back. The print is part of an anatomical atlas, Myologie complete en couleur et grandeur naturelle. The Rijksakademie has14 copies in its collection.

The academy probably didn't buy the prints for the study of the human body – these plates are not known for its anatomical correctness. Instead they were most likely bought for their aesthetic value and the special printing technique.

‘Beschryvinghe van Albrecht Dürer van de menschelijcke proportion. Begrepen in vier onderscheyden Boecken, zeer nut ende profijtelijck voor alle Lief-hebbers deser konste.’
Arnhem: Ian Iansz boeckverkooper, 1622

The Dutch translation of the work on human proportion written in 1528 by Dürer and illustrated with his woodcuts. Dürer was the first artist to intensively study, compare and describe the human body in a scientific manner, trying to construct a ‘canon’ of the body. The book was seen as a standard tool for artists.
De Lairesse

The artist collective ‘Ingenio et Labore’ held their original meetings in the home of art theorist Gerard De Lairesse to discuss and draw. After the passing of De Lairesse, the group came to the Stads Teekenacademie.

The knowledge and ideas of De Lairesse came together in the ‘Large Painter's Book’, dealing with subjects such as composition, color, portraiture and techniques.

The book was much in use, especially during the time of the Koninklijke Academie, and was regularly awarded to prize winners.

This study by Louis Stracké was probably made in the Amsterdam zoo. The work was presented to Allebé to mark his 25 year anniversary.
In 1880 August Allebé, former student of the Koninklijke Akademie and professor at the Rijksakademie, was appointed professor–director. He stressed the importance of practical assignments, theoretical foundation and exams. As director, Allebé was quick to institute changes. The renewed contact with the Koninklijk Genootschap Natura Artis Magistra was just one of these. It gave students the opportunity to draw life studies of animals in Artis Zoo.

Karel Appel

Encounters between artists at the Rijksakademie regularly result in the founding of artist-run initiatives. During his study years from 1940 to 1943, Karel Appel became acquainted with fellow students Corneille and Constant. Their friendship later gave rise to the international progressive art movement, COBRA.

This work, made by Appel during his time at the Rijksakademie, depicts the three kings in adoration of Mary, with the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. It shows that in the 1940s, subject matter from the Bible, mythology, history or literature, were still considered important. The collection makes it evident that for a long time such narrative themes were upheld as lesson assignments and as part of the Prix de Rome competition.