Lower two lights of the "Poetry and Music" window in the former entrance hall of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, by W. F. Dixon (1847-1928). These lights show Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679), the Dutch poet and playwright, and Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621), the Dutch composer and musician. Both men are prominent cultural icons of the Golden Age, and both are particularly associated with Amsterdam. Vondelpark there is named after the former, and Sweelinck was for many years the organist of the Oude Kirk, Amsterdam, where he is buried (not very far from the museum).

The upper two lights of the window, showing scenes of reciting and playing to an audience: the right-hand side features a man with a double bass, an instrument developed in the fifteenth century.

The museum's early guidebook notes that the stained glass in the hall is "not from the hands of a Hollander" (28). Dixon must have had to do a great deal of historical research to create all these figures in their period costumes, and mostly from a different culture. The windows are a remarkable achievement, and his name deserves to be better remembered, especially in view of all the praise recently (and deservedly) lavished on the recent restoration of the Rijjksmuseum.

Photographs and accompanying text by Jacqueline Banerjee. The photographs are reproduced here by kind permission of the Rijksmuseum. Click on the images for larger pictures.

Related Material: Dixon's Other Windows in the Rijksmuseum


Obreen, Frederik Daniel Otto. Guide to the National Museum of Amsterdam. 2nd ed., enlarged. Schiedam: H. A. M. Roelants, 1890. Internet Archive. Web. 28 July 2013.

Last modified 28 July 2013