Having inspired fervent study for centuries, Rembrandt and his Dutch Golden Age contemporaries are admired especially for their portraiture, with Rembrandt in particular having captured a liveliness in his subjects that continues to inspire artists today. In the 17th century, there was a significant market demand for portraits among Amsterdam’s upper class; like Rembrandt, painters such as Thomas de Keyser (c. 1596-1667), Frans Hals (c. 1582-1666) and later Bartholomeus van der Helst (1613-70) relied on these commissions for a critical portion of their income and thus created a wealth of paintings depicting various sitters. Helmed by Amsterdam Museum curator Norbert Middelkoop, this 2020 Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza exhibit presents 20 painted portraits and 20 engravings by Rembrandt and some 60 pieces by his contemporaries in a comprehensive survey that reveals the everlasting quality of these works.
This clothbound volume accompanies the exhibit and includes color reproductions of key pieces as well as research into the stories behind the paintings’ subjects: married couples, craftsmen at work, children, scholars, businessmen, the artists themselves and important group portraits.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rjin (1606-69), better known by the mononym Rembrandt, was a draftsman, printmaker, art collector and painter whose tremendous output of work helped define the Dutch Golden Age. Although he died in near poverty, Rembrandt is now widely understood as one of the greatest and most-studied artists in the Western canon.