Dutch School. One of the very greatest painters.
LONDON, NATIONAL GALLERY
PORTRAIT OF HIMSELF Half length, three-quarters to right, the right arm resting on a parapet. He wears a flat black velvet hat, and fur-trimmed coat with striped brocade sleeves, and gold-embroidered collar over an embroidered vest and cambric shirt.
Inscribed ” Rembrandt f. 1840 conterfeyct.”
“One of the very finest of his portraits.” (Knackfuss.)
Purchased from the heirs of General Dupont in 1861.
AN OLD LADY Bust length, full face. An old lady in black dress with white cap and ruff. Inscribed “ae:suae:83.”
Signed and dated 1634.
” Among the masterpieces of his portrait painting in this year, some of which rank with the most excellent of all his works, a place of honour should be given to the bust of a lady of advanced years ” (the above). (Knackfuss.)
Purchased from Sir Charles Eastlalce’s Collection in 1867.
A MAN’S PORTRAIT Bust length, slightly to right. A young man, bareheaded, with black hair and slight brown moustache and imperial. He wears a deep lace-edged collar over a black speckled satin coat; a broad chain across the breast. Signed and dated 1635.
” Treated with unsurpassable distinction.” (Knackfuss.)
Purchased with the Peel Collection in 1871.
A MAN IN ARMOUR Three-quarter length, half to left, the head in profile. A young man with clean-shaven face, in a large helmet, body armour, and round shield on the left arm, half covered by a cloak, and the butt of a lance held in the right.
Signed “Rembrandt 165-.”
Formerly in the collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds, and engraved by J. G. Haid. Sir Joshua mentions it (as a picture of Achilles) in his ” Discourses.”
THE GOOD SAMARITAN “Another equally fascinating masterpiece. It is evening; the inn, which lies by the high-road outside the gate of a town, is beginning to be busy; several horses are tied up against the house near the fountain; and the guests, having heard the sound of more hoofs approaching, have come to the window to see who is arriving. The hostess hurries officiously to welcome the new arrival. It is a well-dressed man that mounts the steps, but it is not he that she is to entertain, but the unhappy wounded man whom he has rescued with loving care. The victim of the assault is a picture of misery; he groans with pain at every movement of the two servants who have just lifted him off the horse. Nobody can behold him without compassion, except the ostler who holds the horse, and with the calmness of youth and in mere curiosity stands on tiptoe in order to get a better view over the back of the horse.” (Knackfuss.)
“With the exception of a hideous turban on the head of the Samaritan, there is nothing to suggest the nature or locale of the story. . Even here Rembrandt does not shrink from indicating elements of squalor and slovenliness. One of the peasants who is helping to carry the wounded man has his stockings down at heel.” (Sir Charles Eastlake.)
THE SUPPER AT EMMAUS Before a shallow recess in the stone wall of a lofty hall a small square table is set covered with a white cloth. Behind it is the Saviour, from whom the only light in the room appears to emanate. He is blessing the bread, with eyes upturned: At either side of the table are the two disciples-on our right St. Peter turning slightly towards us, but with his gaze fixed on the Saviour, his right hand holding his napkin on the table, his left on the arm of this chair; on our left the other disciple, his back towards us, as he joins his raised hands in reverence before the Saviour. Behind St. Peter is a servant, who pauses ” in restrained and timid astonishment” in the act of handing a dish.
Purchased by Louis XVI. in 1744 for 10,500 livres.
“One of the most eloquent of Rembrandt’s masterpieces.” (Knackfuss.)
PORTRAIT OF HENDRICKJE STOFFELS Half length, nearly full face. Her hair brushed back from her forehead, and falling in coils over her ears, from which are hung a pair of very large pearls. On the back of her head is a green velvet toque. She wears a furred cloak open at the neck, showing a pleated chemise:
Painted about 1652.
“The shades in the lighted parts, the chiaroscuro of the neck, the white hue of the linen, the warm and transparent bituminous tone of the fur, the light on the forehead and nose, make this portrait a matchless painting.” (Th. Gautier.)
THE SYNDICS Oblong. A group of five portraits in a row, nearly full face, of middleaged gentlemen-the managers of the Drapers’ Guild at Amsterdamin black -owns and broad-brimmed black hats and broad white collars. Three of these are sitting behind a table rather to the right, the chairman is on the extreme left, and between him and the table the fifth stands stooping slightly, his left hand holding a book on the table. A clerk, bareheaded, stands in the centre of the panelled background.
Signed and dated 1661.
Knackfuss observes that, whereas Rembrandt had in his earliest group, The Anatomy Lesson, aimed at the strictest fidelity to nature, and in the Night Watch to make a poetical picture out of a subject commonplace in itself, he now united both sides of his accomplishment. “He composed a poem in colour, without doing anything to spoil his convincing fidelity to life. In this picture, so magnificent in its simplicity, Rembrandt said the last word of his art.”
THE NIGHT WATCH In 1642 Rembrandt was commissioned to paint a large picture of the Captain of the Amsterdam train bands, Frans Bauming Cock, and his corps for their headquarters. He chose the moment when they were leaving the guard-house, in the act of falling into line, but still in complete disorder. In the centre Cock marches toward us at the head of his company, conversing with the lieutenant walking at his left side. Behind these two throng the musketeers in various costumes and equipments, with arquebuses and lances; on the extreme right is a drummer; on the left a man approaching us loading his arquebus, between whom and Cock are seen a boy and a little girl in white, with a white cock hanging from her girdle-presumably in allusion to the Captain’s name. Behind is the standard-bearer, Jan Visser Cornelissen.
Signed and dated 1642.
PORTRAIT OF ELIZABETH SWARTENHOUT Three-quarter length, sitting in a chair slightly to left, the hands crossed in the lap over a white pocket-handkerchief. She is an old lady dressed in black velvet trimmed with fur, a white widow’s cap, and broad flat pleated ruff and cuffs. Plain background. She was Elizabeth Jacobs Bas, widow of Admiral Jochem Swartenhout.
LANDSCAPE: THE STONE BRIDGE In the foreground is a small river on which are two men in a punt. It is crossed on the left by a low bridge with one arch, beyond which in the centre is a clump of trees on which the principal light falls. To the right a church steeple in flat country.
From the Marquis of Lansdowne’s Collection.
THE ANATOMY LESSON Dr. Tulp, standing behind a table on the right, on which is stretched a corpse, the head to our left, is lecturing to seven bearded students, two of whom stand side by side on the extreme left; the rest are grouped near the centre, bending forward to observe the exposed muscles of the subject’s left arm, which the doctor holds with an instrument in his right hand. A strong light is on the faces and the body of the corpse, the rest of the picture being in darkness.
Signed and dated 1632.
Painted for the Guild of Surgeons, Amsterdam.
HENDRICKJE STOFFELS AT THE WINDOW Half length, half to left. She stands with her right hand upraised against the left side of the window, her left arm and hand resting on the sill. She is looking downward with her head slightly bent to left. She is dressed in a loose gown thrown over a low white bodice.
Painted c. 1658.
THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN HELMET Bust length, slightly to right, the eyes looking downwards. He wears a corselet and an elaborately ornamented helmet of gold, with a small plume at the top. He is said to have been Rembrandt’s brother. Painted c, 1650..
PORTRAIT OF A RABBI Half length, seated full face, the right arm resting on the arm of the chair,the left holding the right lapel of the gown. He is an elderly man with a full beard. He wears a black velvet gown and flat black cap, and a long gold chain round his neck.
Signed and dated 1645.
THE PREACHER ANSLO The preacher, in black furred gown and large black hat, sits at a table, which is on the left, turning to a widow, who sits in profile on the extreme right. A book is on a desk on the table, and his left hand is extended as he expounds a passage to his attentive hearer.
Signed and dated 1641.
SAMSON THREATENING HIS FATHER-IN-LAW Samson, three-quarter length, in a long tunic, stands facing us, his right arm raised as he shakes his fist at the old man, whose head appears at a small window on the right.
Signed and dated 163-.
SUSANNA AND THE ELDERS In the centre foreground Susanna, stooping, is stepping into the pool from the right, her red cloak lying on a stone seat on the extreme right. One of the elders has crept up behind her and seized hold of the white drapery which she had not yet thrown off, and she turns her head towards us with her hand upraised in alarm. The other elder stands farther back on the right. The left half of the picture is composed of the water backed by a mass of tall buildings and trees.
Signed and dated 1647.
THE VISION OF DANIEL On the left bank of the River Ulai-a narrow stream backed by mountains-the youthful prophet in a plain olive-green garment kneels with bowed head and right hand outstretched towards the vision on the opposite bank-the goat with the strange horns. A beautiful young angel in shining white raiment, with wings outspread, bends over the boy, her right hand pointing to the vision, her left resting on her shoulder.
Painted about 1650.
“A masterpiece in a grand and romantic style.” (Knackfuss.)
THE OFFERING OF MANOAH In the centre Manoah, an old man in a long robe, kneels facing us with clasped hands and closed eyes, and at his left his wife in profile to left. In the left foreground is the burning offering, over which hovers the ghostly form of the angel.
AN OLD WOMAN WEIGHING GOLD An old woman with a white veil over her head and shoulders sitting at a table to right, lifting the scales with her right hand, and holding a coin in the left.
SASKIA Saskia van Uycenburgh, the artist’s first wife, bust length, profile to left, the face, smiling, turned to us and the eyes meeting ours. A young woman with a plump round face, rosy complexion, and curly golden hair. She wears a red velvet hat with an ostrich feather in front, which shades her face down to the eyes.
SAMSON’S WEDDING Over a dozen figures are grouped round a dining-table, the only light coming from a lamp, which is concealed from us by those sitting on the left in front of it.The bride and bridegroom, sitting behind the table on the right, are in the full light. The former sits back with her hands crossed on her breast, while the latter is turned away from her to the right, earnestly employing both hands in propounding riddles to a group of Philistines.
Painted in 1638.
“Marvellous for the charm of its colouring, which ranges from the most delicate lustrous tones, like mother-of-pearl, to depths of ardent gold and purple.” (Knackfuss.)
REMBRANDT AND SASKIA Rembrandt is sitting in profile to left with Saskia on his knee, her back to us, but her head turned till her eyes meet ours. His left hand supports her back, and in his right is a tall glass high uplifted. Both are richly apparelled.
Painted shortly after his marriage in 1634.
SASKIA WITH A FLOWER Three-quarter length, standing facing us. Her eyes meet ours as she holds out a red flower in her right hand, her left being at her breast.
PORTRAIT OF AN ARCHITECT Three-quarter length, seated facing us, his right elbow on a table at his side, the hand holding a pen. He is an elderly man with a long beard, dressed in a long robe richly furred. His left hand, holding a square, rests on his left knee.
NICHOLAS BRUYNINGH Three-quarter length, seated in a chair facing us. He is a very young man with large features and long thick curly locks, dressed in black. He leans to his right, with his right hand on the arm of the chair, and looks downwards, smiling, to our left.
Signed and dated 1652.
THE HOLY FAMILY (” THE HOLZHACKER FAMILY “) Painted to represent a picture behind a curtain drawn aside to the right. The scene is a Dutch interior of Rembrandt’s time,the mother sitting clasp ing the Child, who stands on her knee, in a chair on the left, behind which is a four-post bed and in front a wicker cradle, while Joseph is chopping wood on the right. On the floor in the centre are a cat and a number of household utensils.
Signed and dated 1646.
SASKIA BETROTHED Half length, standing, figure half to left, face in profile. Richly dressed in dark red velvet with full light sleeves, collar embroidered in gold and colours, a flat red velvet hat with broad brim and an ostrich feather, and a fur tippet over her right shoulder. She is dotted with jewels, and holds a sprig of rosemary in her right hand, which is crossed over her left at her bosom.
Painted in 1633.
PORTRAIT OF A MAN Full length, standing facing us, leaning back against a plinth on which his right arm rests. A young man with slight beard and moustache, and thick long hair. He is dressed in black, with a broad linen collar and wide-awake hat. His eyes meet ours. His left hand, hanging at his side, is gloved, from which the right-hand glove has dropped on the ground. Background of wall with an open door.
Signed and dated 1639.
HERMANZ KRUL THE POET Three-quarter length, standing slightly to right against a plain stone background. A youngish man with very slight pointed beard and mous tache. He is dressed in black satin dotted with small spots, a turn-down ruff, and wide-awake hat. His right hand hangs down, his left is gloved and holds the other glove.
Signed and dated 1633.
WINTER LANDSCAPE The foreground is a frozen river, on which a woman is walking to right, followed by a dog. On either side is seated a man with skates on. Beyond a wooden bridge on the left, and a church and other buildings in the centre.
Signed and dated 1646.
THE LARGE LANDSCAPE WITH THE RUIN In the foreground a river is crossed by a bridge of one arch, and on the right a windmill. Beyond, the ground rises towards the right, and nearly in the centre a ruined tower shows against the evening sky.
Signed and painted about 1650.
A series of five pictures of the Passion painted for the Stadholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, completed in 1638. All have round tops.
THE ERECTION OF THE CROSS A strong light falls on the Saviour’s body stretched on the cross, which is already nearly upright and is being pushed by two or three men from behind on the right and pulled from the front on the left by a stooping Roman soldier in helmet and body armour. Behind, in the centre, is a stout man in a turban mounted on a white horse directing the work, and in the gloomy background on either side various other figures. The light also catches a spade stuck into the ground near the foot of the cross.
THE DESCENT FROM THE CROSS Three men have mounted the cross on ladders; one leans over the top holding up the sheet which has been placed behind the body, the others, lower down, sustain the arms as the body drops on to the shoulders of a man below. On the left are some disciples and the holy women; on the right stands Joseph of Arimathea in cloak and turban, a very stout and matter-of-fact figure. The composition is practically identical with the etching known as “The Large Descent from the Cross.”
THE ENTOMBMENT The principal light is from a candle on the extreme left held, shaded by the hand, by a disciple at the head of the tomb, into which the body is being lowered. The background on the right is open to the sky, and the three crosses are seen against the sunset glow.
THE RESURRECTION In a glory of bright light an angel with wings outstretched has lifted the lid of the tomb from the right, precipitating the band of Roman soldiers into a heap on the left, the heels of one of them being in the air in the very centre of the picture.
THE ASCENSION Standing on a cloud supported by infant angels, the Saviour in voluminous white robes gazes heavenward with arms outstretched. Below, on the right, a group of wondering disciples, and on the left a large palm-tree.
THE NATIVITY The scene is in a stable, which is only lit by the radiance from the Child lying on the ground towards the right, surrounded by five kneeling or sitting figures, while others are standing on the left.
Painted in 1631.