The room of antiquities
THE ROOM OF ANTIQUITIES
After the death of Baron van Westreenen the front hall was created first. The alterations took place in stages, allowing time between each stage for enough money to become available. The capital Van Westreenen had left to the State was placed in a trust fund, and the costs of maintaining, decorating and developing the museum were met out of the interest.
In 1867, when enough money had been saved, the rear hall was prepared to allow for suitable presentation of the antiquities. In order to create a more or less Greek atmosphere, a cassette ceiling was put in – the type of ceiling that features in buildings from Antiquity. The man responsible for this renovation was the government architect W.N. Rose, together with Berlage, and Cuypers, one of the great names in the history of Dutch architecture.
On the right hand side, the bedroom of the baron had been situated; on the left was the room in which he stored his antiquities – a veritable warehouse. The portraits that Van Westreenen collected, not as art works but in order to show his ancestry, are hung on the right today. In this ‘ancestral gallery’ (the entire collection numbers 40 paintings) members of the Meerman family are chiefly on display nowadays.
The rear hall houses the archaeological collections: the Egyptian collection, a large collection of ancient coins, the Greek collection (consisting for the most part of vases and terracotta material) and the Roman collection. The national antiquities are also housed here.
The Italian panel paintings are also on view in a study on the rear of the building. During his lifetime Van Westreenen had a small study that was situated one floor lower with exactly the same ground plan, but mirrored. It was equipped as a kind of chapel and, amongst other things, the Italian panels were kept there.