Drawing at the Rijksmuseum

Why is it that we constantly want to take photos with our smartphones or tablets, no matter where we are? The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam found that, because of this “desire,” visits to museums are now becoming passive and superficial experiences. Which is why they have come with a lovely initiative: #startdrawing. The museum hopes that by encouraging people to sit and draw what is in front of them—as opposed to snap it with their smart device—they will see much more, and thus discover and appreciate the beauty of art and history through drawing.

The campaign was launched at The Big Draw festival staged in the Rijksmuseum on 24 and 25 October. During that weekend, the museum gave out 10,000 free sketchbooks and 8,250 pencils, and organized several different drawing activities. Wim Pijbes, director of the Rijksmuseum, said: “Visitors were visibly surprised and it was a wonderful sight to see so many people side by side, enjoying themselves by simply drawing. Drawing helps because you look really closely and see more.”

And in keeping with the Rijksmuseum’s philosophy that “anyone who wants to draw in the Rijksmuseum will always be welcome,” every Saturday will now be known as “Drawing Day. Visitors can pick up a sketchbook at the Information Desk upon arrival, and can also take part in Drawing tours and public drawing lessons.

As big fans of drawing and illustration alike, we think it’s a fantastic initiative, and give it a big thumbs-up.

Photo: Bibi Veth