Rembrandt, Vermeer and the Dutch Golden Age. Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection and the Musée du Louvre
This exhibition presents 95 objects, drawn largely from The Leiden Collection, with important works from the Musée du Louvre, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and the Rijksmuseum, set against the rich backdrop of cultural exchange, exploration, and discovery that took place during the Golden Age of the Dutch Republic. The exhibition highlights the artistic dialogues that occurred in the Netherlands during the seventeenth century, focusing upon the extraordinary works of Rembrandt van Rijn, from his youth in Leiden to his mature period in Amsterdam, and including portraiture, history painting, and oil sketches. Artworks in The Leiden Collection by Rembrandt’s teacher Pieter Lastman, his friend and rival Jan Lievens, and his pupils Ferdinand Bol, Carel Fabritius, and Arent de Gelder, further elucidate the master’s remarkable career.
In parallel, the exhibition explores the school of “fine painting” (fijnschilderij) popularized by Gerrit Dou and his pupil Frans van Mieris the Elder in Leiden. The fijnschilders were known for their meticulously rendered scenes of daily life, which were collected by patrons across Europe. Highlights from the Musée du Louvre, including Dou’s Self-portrait with a palette in a niche (ca. 1660–65) and Van Mieris’s Woman at her toilet (1678), complement a selection of artworks by the fijnschilders from The Leiden Collection.
Two remarkable canvases by Johannes Vermeer, Young Woman Seated at a Virginal (ca. 1670–72, The Leiden Collection) and The Lacemaker (ca. 1669–70, Musée du Louvre) are also exhibited next to each other for the first time, highlighting a recent discovery that the two artworks were painted on canvas cut from the same bolt. Such dialogues also illuminate the connections between the collections, and the spirit of exchange that guides the exhibition.