mauritshuis museum reopens in the hague following extensive renovation
 
mauritshuis museum reopens in the hague following extensive renovation  mauritshuis museum reopens in the hague following extensive renovation
jun 23, 2014

mauritshuis museum reopens in the hague following extensive renovation

mauritshuis museum reopens in the hague following extensive renovation
(above) image © ronald tilleman / courtesy of mauritshuis, the hague

 

 

 

 

the historic mauritshuis in the hauge is — as described by museum docent jane choy — ‘the smallest of the great museums, and the greatest of the small museums’. the home of vermeer’s ‘girl with a pearl earring’ stands as an exceptional host of a world-famous collection of paintings by dutch and flemish masters, filling the classical rooms with renowned works of art by vermeer, rembrandt, steen and rubens.

 

however majestic the seventeenth-century building is, it was originally constructed as a private residence for count johan maurits, not as a museum. to meet the needs of the twenty-first century visitor, the site has been painstakingly renovated and extended over the past two years, creating additional space for temporary exhibitions, the educational art workshop, library, event spaces, and public facilities including a brasserie and museum shop. the museum’s existing floor space has doubled in size with the addition of the new royal dutch shell wing in the art deco building on the opposite side of the street, connected to the main building via an underground foyer. designed by hans van heeswijk architects, the overall design aims to preserve the intimate character of the mauritshuis, while ensuring that it ready for the future. the museum is set to reopen on june 27th, 2014.

mauritshuis renovation
the permanent collection is accessible through the subterranean level 
image © ronald tilleman / courtesy of mauritshuis, the hague

 

 

 

prior to renovation, visitors to the museum accessed the exhibition halls through a small portal at the side of the home, formerly the servant’s entrance of the maurits’ household. when envisioning the redevelopment, it immediately became evident to the design team that a new entryway would be a pivotal part of the expansion scheme. heeswijk adopted a louvre-like program (the parisian monument’s luminous, subterranean atrium became a source of influence for the dutch architect) leading guests into the museum though an underground gateway. the new plan guides visitors down a commanding stone staircase to a light-filled foyer below the surface of the street, connecting the two buildings. with the creation of the reception hall under the forecourt, the streetscape has been preserved intact and the gates of the museum, which were unused for many years, are now reopened. sunlit and spacious, the welcome center hosts a cloakroom, public facilities, an information desk, restrooms, the museum shop and a brasserie, while providing access to both the historic building for the permanent collection and the new wing, for temporary curated displays.

mauritshuis renovation
the luminous foyer connects the new wing to the existing historical site
image © ronald tilleman / courtesy of mauritshuis, the hague

 

 

 

the new royal dutch shell wing contains additional space for temporary exhibitions, the brasserie, the museum shop, an art workshop, a library and an events room. this art deco structure has been extensively renovated, preserving historic elements such as the wide wooden staircase and large stained glass skylight. the opening exhibition of the renovated museum looks back at the rich history of the classicist building designed by jacob van campen. original drawings of the interior, paintings, prints and other objects draw a lively picture of the residents and the different functions of the mauritshuis through the centuries — describing the original brazilian influences, the devastating fire of 1704 and the recently completed rebuilding and renovation work.

mauritshuis renovation
glass panels bring the streetscape into the museum, allowing passers-by to visualize the interior space
image © designboom

 

 

 

during the construction project, the seventeenth-century house in which the permanent collection is displayed was refurbished: the windows, the air conditioning and the lighting were replaced and the interior redecorated. all the rooms in the museum have been provided with new wall coverings. the interior has acquired a richer aspect: silk was chosen that has been made especially in france featuring woven motifs based on the eighteenth century model. a distinction was made between the larger and corner rooms: the walls have patterned fabrics and plain curtains, and the scheme is reversed in the corner rooms. the staircase has again been finished with a red fabric, but now in a slightly different hue, a color which underlines the monumental quality of this space, where the paintings are hung in two rows.

 

an entirely new lighting plan was designed with the aim of achieving optimum visibility for the collection, yet taking into account the maximum permitted light values for the works of art on display and the importance of retaining the historic character of the building. now, LED lighting is fitted in all the rooms.

mauritshuis renovation
the new royal dutch shell wing contains additional space for temporary exhibitions
image © ronald tilleman / courtesy of mauritshuis, the hague

 

 

 

the mauritshuis’ new permanent display comprises 260 works, a third of the total collection of approximately 800 works. by far the best-loved of the museum’s paintings is ‘girl with a pearl earring’, who returns home for the first time in two years. recently this masterpiece has become one of the most iconic paintings in the world, in part because of the the publication of the novel by tracy chevalier and the subsequent film adaptation. similarly, carel fabritius’ ‘the goldfinch’ has acquired new fame, following a novel by donna tartt — in which the painting plays a leading role — which won pulitzer prize for fiction.

mauritshuis renovation
the historic staircases have been refurbished, which connect the levels of the 17th century building
image © designboom

 

 

 

the renovation has been a major success for the mauritshuis, not only for its completion on schedule and within budget, but for preserving the important intimacy of the site while integrating new functions for the future visitor. following the opening, the museum aims to position itself even more strongly as a leading international museum for seventeenth-century painting.

mauritshuis renovation
upon arriving at the top level, visitors experience a vibrant red exhibition room
image © ronald tilleman / courtesy of mauritshuis, the hague

mauritshuis renovation
new wallpaper canvasses the interior spaces
image © ronald tilleman / courtesy of mauritshuis, the hague

mauritshuis renovation
the renowned ‘girl with the pearl’ earring returns home
image © designboom

mauritshuis renovation
the painting has been reinstalled at the mauritshuis following a two-year renovation
image © designboom

mauritshuis renovation
the new wallpaper colors bring vibrancy to the space
image © ronald tilleman / courtesy of mauritshuis, the hague

mauritshuis renovation
the interior has acquired a richer aspect than before
image © designboom

mauritshuis renovation
an entirely new lighting plan was designed with the aim of achieving optimum visibility for the collection
image © designboom

mauritshuis renovation
vermeer’s girl with the pearl earring has returned home
image © ivo hoekstra / courtesy of mauritshuis, the hague

mauritshuis renovation
the exterior of the mauritshuis in the hague
image © ivo hoekstra / courtesy of mauritshuis, the hague

mauritshuis renovation
section showing the underground link between the two sites
image courtesy of hans van heeswijk architecten

 

 


timelapse of construction on the extension of the mauritshuis
video courtesy of hansvanheeswijk

 

 

  • What a wonderful restoration and addition to a beautiful museum . Holland and Den Haag should be proud of this gem .
    By the way I was born in this museum July 1st 1944 . My father Menno de Groot was administrator until 1952 when we immigrated to Canada . As you can see I have wonderful memories of this Museum . I hope to come back soon to to see the beautiful paintings that I miss . I do have a lot of prints of the paintings hanging on the walls of our home .
    Great success with your new and old art gallery .
    Ralph (Roelof) de Groot

    Roelof A. de Groot says:

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