Cameras banned inside museum, visitors asked to draw the artwork instead

Jack Choros
Photo from Rijksmuseum's Facebook page, posted ahead of this year's Big Draw event.
Photo from Rijksmuseum's Facebook page, posted ahead of this year's Big Draw event.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam recently held its 2015 Big Draw event. It’s an event where visitors come to the museum and appreciate art in a whole new way. They are allowed to ‘take pictures’ of the artifacts and displays, just as long as they don’t bring a camera or smartphone along to take actual photos. No cameras allowed, sketches only!

The museum’s website explains the idea is to get people truly engaged in what they’re looking at.

“In today’s world of mobile phones and media a visit to a museum is often a passive and superficial experience,” they write on their website. “Visitors are easily distracted and do not truly experience beauty, magic and wonder. This is why the Rijksmuseum wants to help visitors discover and appreciate the beauty of art and history through drawing.”

While drawing is certainly both a skill and a talent, the juxtaposition of both simplicity and incredible detail that visitors’ drawings display drive the point home. It doesn’t matter if you struggle drawing stick figures, or if you’re the next Pablo Picasso, anybody can develop an appreciation for fine art if they just put a pencil to paper and let their imagination explore the possibilities.

The results of the 2015 Big Draw event speak for themselves.Two young artists here draw their respective interpretations of a model posing in a seated position. Obviously drawing works wonders in terms of keeping kids interested and exploring their creativity as they develop their own talents:

Street artist Leon Keer completed a stunning 3D art display inspired by the work of famous Dutch artists Vermeer and Rembrandt on the main passage way outside of the Rijksmuseum.

If these awesome re-creations of famous art tickle your fancy and you want to try your hand at it, don’t fret, you don’t have to be in The Netherlands or at the Rijksmuseum to sketch exhibits on your own. Museums around the world have hosted drawing events before, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York among others.

While there haven’t been any formal drawing days arranged at Canadian museums or art galleries (and please let us know if you have attended one!), there’s nothing stopping you from brining a pencil and sketchpad to one of Canada’s famous homes for artwork, like the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, or the Vancouver Art Gallery. Why not give it a go?