The Municipal Museum of Rotterdam bears the name of two collectors: Boymans and van Beningen. Before that, as elsewhere, the works of Dutch masters of the 17th century prevailed. Only a section of European, mainly French, painting of the late 19th and 20th centuries was somewhat unusual.
With the collection of van Beningen came the world-famous creations of Dutch masters of the XV — XVI centuries, the work of Italians, Flemings, and French. The museum now has the most extensive collection of paintings from foreign schools in the Netherlands. Instead of the overwhelming interest of collectors of the 19th century in the national artistic heritage, here we find a broad pan-European orientation in collecting.
It is hardly accidental that this is the most diverse and modern of the Dutch museum collections located not in a city living with memories like Harlem or Leiden, but in a powerful economic center of the country. Rotterdam's seaport is the largest in Europe.
Among the old quarters adjacent to the new center, there is a building built before the war for the museum’s overgrown collection. Its grand opening took place in 1935. The local Rotterdam architect van der Steir worked on the project in close collaboration with the museum director, major art critic D. Hannem. As a result, a building appeared that was not perfect, but in many respects perfectly meets modern requirements, despite the past thirty years. In the garden behind it there is a sculpture of the late XIX — XX centuries.
As in other museums in the country, Dutch painting collection XVII century in the Rotterdam Museum is the most extensive. Perhaps the landscape is especially interesting here - from the earliest naive views of the coast performed by Arent Arents Kabel (1585/86 - c. 1635), to the plain panoramas of Philips Konink (1619–1688) and various works by Jacob van Reusdal. The works of Frans Hals and Beiteweg (c. 1591–1624), Terborch (1617–1681) and Emanuel de Witte (c. 1615/17–1691/92) stand out in the exposition.
A distinctive feature of the Rotterdam Museum is the section of the foreign, non-Dutch art. It does not pretend to fully reflect the main stages of the history of art, as we see it in the largest museums in the world, such as the Louvre or the Hermitage.
Van böningen, to whom this section is largely indebted for its existence, had certain personal tastes and preferences. So, he was fond of sketches of Rubens. The museum does not have large compositions typical of Rubens, but there are twenty sketches made at various periods of the master’s work.
Italian art The 16th century is represented in the Rotterdam Museum mainly by the works of Venetian masters.
The exposition ends with the era of the first world war.although the museum also has a number of later works. Museum workers prefer to show the living art of today in the form of changing exhibitions, which, of course, cannot be compared with classical masterpieces. And in this they, of course, are right.