Rembrandt as St. Paul


In 2006, The Netherlands will celebrate the 400th birthday of Rembrandt, The Dutch master painter of the 17th century.  Rembrandt’s birth year will be commemorated with an extensive and exciting program of exhibitions and events in Amsterdam, Leiden and The Hague.

Rembrandt Highlights in Amsterdam
Throughout the year 2006, the Rijksmuseum will exhibit all the Rembrandt paintings and drawings which are a part of their extended collection, including the world-famous ‘Night Watch’ and ‘Jewish Bride’. From January 26 to February 19, 2006, visitors can see All the Rembrandt paintings from the Rijksmuseum’s collection.

For the first time the Rijksmuseum presents pieces that have once been attributed to Rembrandt, but in fact were not real Rembrandts. Really Rembrandt? will be on show from March 9 through May 31, 2006.

From June 2 through August 6, 2006 Nightwatching by Peter Greenaway, a theatrical installation with image and sound surrounding the Nightwatch, can be seen in the Rijksmuseum.

From August 11 to October 11, 2006 All the Drawings, part I: the Storyteller,
and from October 14 through December 31, 2006 All the Drawings, part II: The Observer show all 60 drawings from the collection of the Rijksmuseum.

The Rembrandt House Museum, the house in which the master lived and worked for more than 20 years, will host four exhibitions.  One of the top attractions of the Rembrandt Year is the exhibition Rembrandt, the Quest of a Genius, April 1 to June 25, 2006. Rembrandt is considered one of the great art innovators, and his unique oeuvre the result of a life-long artistic quest. Well over 50 paintings and 50 drawings and etchings shed new light on Rembrandt as a creative genius and the mainstay in an extremely productive studio. Visitors of the exhibition will be allowed a peek in Rembrandt’s ‘laboratory’, where he enthusiastically supervised the dynamic artistic activity.

Other exhibitions in the Rembrandt House are Rembrandt and British Printmaking (December 17, 2005 – March 12, 2006). The exhibition shows graphical work by British artists from 1850-1930 who were inspired by Rembrandt.

Rembrandt the Etcher (July 1 – August 27, 2006), shows Rembrandt as one of the greatest graphical talents of all time. His contemporaries already admired him for his free drawing technique, his dramatic clair obscure and his daring etching experiments. Until today his etchings have been a source of inspiration for various famous artists, such as Goya and Picasso. Rembrandt has made some 290 etchings altogether.

Uylenburgh & Son, Art and Commerce in Rembrandt's time (September 9 – December 3, 2006). The art dealers Hendrick and Gerrit Uylenburgh played a key role in art circles in 17th-century Amsterdam. After Rembrandt moved from Leiden to Amsterdam he worked for Hendrick Uylenburgh as the manager of his painting studio for nearly four years. Launched by Uylenburgh, Rembrandt soon acquired fame as Holland’s leading portrait painter. The exhibition presents a representative overview of the paintings and sculptures which the Uylenburgh store sold between 1625 and 1675. These include masterpieces by Antonie van Dyck, Govert Flinck, Caspar Netscher, Gerard Lairesse and, of course, Rembrandt.

More exhibitions and events
The ‘Jewish’ Rembrandt in the Jewish Historical Museum, November 10, 2006 to February 4, 2007, sets out to unravel the mystery and explain the myth of Rembrandt described as a ‘Jewish’ artist. For many years Rembrandt lived and worked in the heart of Amsterdam’s Jewish quarter; many of his paintings depict biblical scenes, he introduced written Hebrew words into some of his works and a number of the characters he had painted were considered to be Jews.

Many of Rembrandt’s works were inspired by the Bible. The exhibition Rembrandt and the Bible in the Biblical Museum, will show Rembrandt's complete oeuvre of etchings with biblical scenes, September 15 – December 10, 2006.

If you want to find out more about Rembrandt’s riches and debts, his clients and creditors, his women and children... head to the Municipal Archives Amsterdam to see Rembrandt’s Documents. A selection of important archival documents relating to Rembrandt’s life will be on view from October 15 to December 31, 2006.

The Amsterdam Historical Museum boasts a small, yet surprising Rembrandt collection. To mark the Rembrandt 400 year, the museum presents The Essence of Rembrandt from May 12 through August 13, 2006.

Rembrandt, the musical, from July 2006 to February 2007, shows the man behind the masterpieces, whose life was interspersed with so many shadows and dramatic events. The musical can be seen at the Royal Carre Theatre in Amsterdam.

Leiden Highlights
The city of Leiden played a major role in Rembrandt’s life. The painter was born in this university city, one of principal intellectual and artistic centers in the country, and lived and worked in Leiden during the first 25 years of his life. This is where he learned to paint, established himself as an independent painter, and where he developed his famous light and shadow technique.

Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal will mark and start the Rembrandt Year with Rembrandt’s Mother, Myth and Reality from December 16, 2005 – March 19, 2006. The exhibition explores the mystery around the old woman reading the Bible. Rembrandt has portrayed this woman more than once. As early as the 17th century she was thought to be Rembrandt’s mother. But is she really his mother? After all, both Rembrandt’s friend Jan Lievens and his apprentice Gerrit Dou portrayed the same woman in some of their paintings.

Rembrandt, the Narrator, from April 13 to September 3, 2006, is the first occasion for which the complete collection of etchings of Rembrandt expert Frits Lugt (1884-1970) has been given on loan.

Rembrandt’s Landscapes from October 6, 2006 through January 7, 2007, is entirely devoted to Rembrandt’s etchings and drawings of landscapes.

In his earliest painted landscapes Rembrandt did not realistically register the world around him. Rather, they depicted scenes as he imagined them. This is in contrast with what Rembrandt drew. His fantasy created combinations of landscapes and architectural elements. Paintings, drawings and etchings show this rather unknown aspect of Rembrandt’s oeuvre. These works confirm Rembrandt’s reputation as a great master of light and shadow.

The three exhibitions will be accompanied by a presentation on Rembrandt’s life and work in Leiden. Rembrandt in Leiden will be open from December 16, 2005 throughout 2006.

Every year in July, the city of Leiden celebrates Rembrandt’s birthday. During the 2006 Rembrandt Festival, Leiden will go back to Rembrandt’s time, the Golden Age. Numerous historical characters will put in an appearance, and local restaurants, bars and shops will convey a 17th-century ambiance.

Rembrandt walking routes in Amsterdam and Leiden
The special Rembrandt walking routes takes you past all authentic Rembrandt locations in the historical center of Amsterdam and Leiden.

During the Golden Age, Amsterdam evolved into the richest town in the world and a popular artists’ haunt in a short period of time. Many aspects of Amsterdam as it was in Rembrandt’s days have survived the ravages of time. The Rembrandt route highlights the places that were important in the artist’s life, like the Oude Kerk (Old Church), the Waag (Weighhouse), the Royal Palace in Dam square - in those days Amsterdam’s Town Hall -, the Westerkerk (Western Church) and of course the Rembrandthuis – the house in which he lived and worked for almost 20 years.

The sites on the routes give an impression of what Leiden looked like during Holland's Golden Age, the 17th century. One of the highlights of the walk is Weddesteegplein, the street where Rembrandt was born ninth out of ten children. Another highlight along the Rembrandt route is the Latin School. While looking through the windows you can imagine yourself in the world of a schoolboy in the early 17th century. Just a few more steps will take you to Willem van Swanenburgh’s studio in which the young Rembrandt spent many an hour.

The Hague Exhibition
The Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery in The Hague will feature the exhibition A Summer with Rembrandt from June 26 through September 18, 2006. The museum’s permanent exhibition includes ten of the painter’s most celebrated works. A few of the paintings have been recently restored. It will be the first time the public will be able to find out about the restoration processes and the findings of the technical examinations of the paintings.












The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam -

Rembrandt – Caravaggio 

February 24 – June 18, 2006

To mark the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt’s birthday in 2006, the Van Gogh Museum presents an exhibition by the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum featuring a remarkable confrontation between the two geniuses of Baroque art: Rembrandt van Rijn and his Italian counterpart, Caravaggio.  In this first exhibition over 25 monumental paintings, by the masters of chiaroscuro, from various international museums provide a visual spectacle with powerful images of love, emotion and passion. Rembrandt-Caravaggio shows exclusively in Amsterdam.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) died four years after Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) was born. Although they never met, there are many parallels between the two masters and their work. Both were revolutionary innovators in the art of Southern and Northern Europe. And while they stemmed from different traditions of painting, they each developed an individual, dramatic visual idiom.

Caravaggio’s work, which has not been shown in Holland since 1952, is represented in this exhibition by major items from international museums. Masterpieces such as The Supper at Emmaus from London, Amor Vincit Omnia from Berlin and the Sacrifice of Isaac from Florence are in Amsterdam for the show. Famous paintings by Rembrandt from various museums from all over the world are also featured in the exhibition, including the Blinding of Samson from Frankfurt and Belshazzar’s Feast from London. Most of the paintings are displayed in pairs of works by the two artists.

Also on display in the exhibition is work by the Caravaggists Honthorst and Van Baburen, Dutch artists who were influenced by Caravaggio while in Italy. It was through these painters that Rembrandt learned of Caravaggio and began practicing in the Caravaggist style in his early years, as some of the paintings in the exhibition show. Rembrandt’s own themes, style and method are also explored.

Van Gogh and Rembrandt
Parallel to Rembrandt-Caravaggio, the print room in the exhibition wing presents a show which brings together Van Gogh and Rembrandt. Around 25 paintings, drawings and letters by the two artists reveal how Van Gogh discovered Rembrandt’s oeuvre and how his artistic appreciation of the old master developed. Special focus is placed on The raising of Lazarus which Van Gogh painted in 1890 after Rembrandt’s eponymous etching, providing a color interpretation of the 17th-century original.

Rembrandt 400
Rembrandt-Caravaggio is one of the first shows in a series of exhibitions, activities and events organized in Holland to mark the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt’s birth. For more information on-line about the Rembrandt Year, please follow this link.  

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