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National Museum of China

June 17September 3, 2017
Jan Lievens (Dutch, 1607-1674), Self-Portrait, ca. 1629-30, oil on panel, 42 x 37 cm, The Leiden Collection, New York.

Rembrandt and His Time: Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection

Rembrandt and His Time: Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection explores the extraordinary breadth and depth of artistic innovation in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic. Following the development of Dutch art through a selection of 74 history paintings, genre scenes, and portraits from about 1620 to 1690, the exhibition provides a comprehensive understanding of the history of Dutch art during its Golden Age through The Leiden Collection.

During the Golden Age, Dutch artists became interested in naturalistic depictions of the world around them, which provided insight into the human experience. This exhibition examines the proliferation of this interest through paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn and Jan Lievens, as well as those by Rembrandt’s first pupil, Gerrit Dou, and “the prince” of Dou’s pupils, Frans van Mieris, both of whom developed the fine manner of painting known as fijnschilderij. In addition, the exhibition explores the burst of creativity that took place in other Dutch cities, spurred by artists such as Frans Hals, Hendrick ter Bruggen, Gabriel Metsu, Jan Steen, and Johannes Vermeer.

The Catalogue

A fully illustrated, Chinese-English bilingual exhibition catalogue accompanies Rembrandt and His Time: Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection.

The catalogue contains a Foreword by Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, and two essays by Curator Dr. Lara Yeager-Crasselt on The Leiden Collection in the Dutch Golden Age, as well as China and the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century. 74 color-illustrated catalogue entries, as well as a selected bibliography are also included. The catalogue is published by Boundless Times Ltd., Beijing.

Exhibition Video

Rembrandt and His Time: Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection

Learn about the exhibition through this video featuring Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan and Dr. Lara Yeager-Crasselt, joined by Dr. Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., Curator of Northern Baroque Paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and Dr. Ronni Baer, Senior Curator of European Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This video was created by Video Art Productions.

Artwork in the Exhibition

Extraordinary Beginnings: Rembrandt van Rijn in Leiden

The works by Rembrandt van Rijn and Jan Lievens in The Leiden Collection provide a window into both artists’ formative years. This foundation stimulated an artistic dialogue between these two artists, as well as the larger circle that emerged around them.

Isaac de Jouderville Portrait of Rembrandt in Oriental Dress

The Earliest Paintings: Allegory of the Senses

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Rembrandt’s Teacher

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Inspiration and Competition

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The Earliest Paintings: Allegory of the Senses

The works by Rembrandt van Rijn and Jan Lievens in The Leiden Collection provide a window into both artists’ formative years. This foundation stimulated an artistic dialogue between these two artists, as well as the larger circle that emerged around them.

Rembrandt’s Teacher

Born in Leiden in 1606, Rembrandt began his artistic training in the city of his birth, subsequently spending six highly formative months with Amsterdam history painter Pieter Lastman.

Inspiration and Competition

Returning to Leiden, Rembrandt developed a friendship and rivalry with fellow artist Jan Lievens. The two artists’ interests in self-portraiture, their depictions of figures in exotic costume, and their evocative uses of light and shadow are merely a few ways in which we ourselves experience their process of artistic exploration.
Artist Isaac de Jouderville (Leiden ca. 1612 – 1648 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Portrait of Rembrandt in Oriental Dress, ca. 1631
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Three Musicians (Allegory of Hearing), ca. 1624-25
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Unconscious Patient (Allegory of Smell), ca. 1624–25
Medium
oil on panel, inset into an eighteenth century panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Stone Operation (Allegory of Touch), ca. 1624–25
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Pieter Lastman (Ansterdam 1583 – 1633 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
David Gives Uriah a Letter for Joab, 1619
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Hendrick ter Brugghen (The Hague 1588 – 1629 Utrecht)
Artwork title
Allegory of Faith, ca. 1626
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Lievens (Leiden 1607 – 1674 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Card Players, ca. 1625
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Lievens (Leiden 1607 – 1674 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Bookkeeper at His Desk, ca. 1627
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Lievens (Leiden 1607 – 1674 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Self-Portrait, ca. 1629–30
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Lievens (Leiden 1607 – 1674 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Boy in a Cape and Turban (Portrait of Prince Rupert of the Palatinate), ca. 1631
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York

The Center of the Golden Age: Rembrandt in Amsterdam

Rembrandt left Leiden for Amsterdam in 1631, where he entered the workshop of art dealer Hendrick van Uylenburgh, and began receiving commissions from Amsterdam’s urban elite. Rembrandt’s portraits, preparatory studies, and history paintings, seen here, illustrate the expressive technique the artist employed to poignantly convey the human experience.

Rembrandt van Rijn Self-Portrait with Shaded Eyes

Portraiture

Preparatory Studies

Minerva in Her Study

Rembrandt’s Circle and the Spread of Innovation

Divine Lessons

Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Self-Portrait with Shaded Eyes, 1634
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Portrait of a Man in a Red Coat, 1633
Medium
oil on oval panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn and Workshop (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Portrait of Antonie Coopal, 1635
Medium
oil on Brazilian chestnut (sucupira)
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Young Girl in a Gold-Trimmed Cloak, 1632
Medium
oil on oval panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Head of a Girl, ca. 1645
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Study of a Woman in a White Cap, ca. 1640
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Portrait of an Old Man (Possibly a Rabbi), ca. 1645
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Minerva in Her Study, 1635
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (Amsterdam 1621 – 1674 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Simeon in the Temple, 1672
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Willem de Poorter (Haarlem [?] 1608 – after 1648 Haarlem [?])
Artwork title
Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, ca. 1630
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Ferdinand Bol (Dordrecht 1616 – 1680 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Man with a Fur-Trimmed Hat, ca. 1646–48
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Ferdinand Bol (Dordrecht 1616 – 1680 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Angel Appearing to Elijah, ca. 1642
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Carel Fabritius (Middenbeemster 1622 – 1654 Delft)
Artwork title
Hagar and the Angel, ca. 1645
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York

Fine Painting in Leiden: Gerrit Dou and Frans van Mieris

Rembrandt’s first pupil in Leiden, Gerrit Dou, did not paint with bold colors in the fluid manner popularized by his master. Instead, he developed a distinctive style known as fijnschilderij, or fine painting. Marked by an extraordinary precision of brushstroke, Dou’s inventive and illustionistic compositions were further explored by the “prince among his pupils,” Frans van Mieris, whose artwork demanded some of the highest prices of the period.

Attributed to Gerrit Dou Self-Portrait (?) at an Easel

The Scholarly Tradition

Dou’s Posterity: Frans van Mieris and Godefridus Schalcken

Artist Attributed to Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Self-Portrait (?) at an Easel, ca. 1628–29
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Goat in a Landscape, ca. 1660–65
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Herring Seller and Boy, ca. 1664
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Cat Crouching on the Ledge of an Artist’s Atelier, 1657
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Scholar Sharpening His Quill, ca. 1632-35
Medium
oil on oval panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Old Man Praying, ca. 1665–70
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Scholar Interrupted at His Writing, ca. 1635
Medium
oil on oval panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans van Mieris (Leiden 1635 – 1681 Leiden)
Artwork title
Child’s Lesson (Hannah Entrusting Her Son Samuel into the Care of the High Priest Eli?), ca. 1656–57
Medium
oil on panel with arched top
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans van Mieris (Leiden 1635 – 1681 Leiden)
Artwork title
Death of Lucretia, 1679
Medium
oil on panel with arched top
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Portrait of a Woman in Profile, ca. 1635–40
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Portrait of Dirck van Beresteyn, ca. 1652
Medium
oil on silver-copper alloy, oval
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans van Mieris (Leiden 1635 – 1681 Leiden)
Artwork title
Portrait of a Lady, 1673
Medium
oil on panel with arched top
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 – 1675 Leiden)
Artwork title
Portrait of a Lady, Seated with a Music Book on Her Lap, ca. 1640–44
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans van Mieris (Leiden 1635 – 1681 Leiden)
Artwork title
“Self-Portrait” with a Plumed Beret, 1668
Medium
oil on oval panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans van Mieris (1667/68)
Artwork title
Tronie Self-Portrait of the Artist, Bust-length, Wearing a Turban Crowned with a Feather, and Fur-trimmed Robe, 1667/68
Medium
Oil on oak panel, oval The Leiden Collection, New York
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans van Mieris (Leiden 1635 – 1681 Leiden)
Artwork title
Traveler at Rest, ca. 1657
Medium
oil on copper
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Caspar Netscher (Prague or Heidelberg ca. 1639 – 1684 The Hague)
Artwork title
Sarah Leading Hagar to Abraham, 1673
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Willem van Mieris (Leiden 1662 – 1747 Leiden)
Artwork title
Diana, Goddess of the Hunt, 1686
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Godefridus Schalcken (Made 1643 – 1706 The Hague)
Artwork title
Young Man and Woman Studying a Statue of Venus, by Lamplight, ca. 1688–92
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Godefridus Schalcken (Made 1643 – 1706 The Hague)
Artwork title
Parable of the Lost Piece of Silver, ca. 1675
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Godefridus Schalcken (Made 1643 – 1706 The Hague)
Artwork title
Diana and Her Nymphs in a Clearing, ca. 1680–85
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans van Mieris (Leiden 1635 – 1681 Leiden)
Artwork title
Elderly Couple in an Interior, ca. 1650–55
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629 – 1667 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Smoker Seated at a Table, ca. 1654–57
Medium
oil on copper
The Leiden Collection, New York

Picturing Everyday Life in the Dutch Republic

Genre painters such as Gabriel Metsu, Gerard ter Borch, and Jan Steen depicted a variety of subjects, from village fairs and music playing, to quiet scenes of family life and leisurely pursuits. Over the course of the century, interest shifted to depictions of the upper class in elegant interiors, as evidenced by Johannes Vermeer’s Young Woman Seated at a Virginal. The evolution of this popular genre was a result of artists’ enduring interest in the world that surrounded them.

Personalities and Professions

Intimacies and Pleasures of Domestic Life

Humor, Folly, and Delight

From Farm to Table

Elegant Interiors

Johannes Vermeer

Artist Cornelis de Man (Delft 1621 – 1706 Delft)
Artwork title
Portrait of the Pharmacist Dr. Ysbrand Ysbrandsz. (1634/35–1705) in an Interior, ca. 1667
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans Hals (Antwerp 1582/83 – 1666 Haarlem)
Artwork title
Portrait of Conradus Vietor, 1644
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Frans Hals (Antwerp 1582/83 – 1666 Haarlem)
Artwork title
Portrait of Samuel Ampzing, 1630
Medium
oil on copper
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Michiel van Musscher (Rotterdam 1645 – 1705 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Portrait of the Artist in His Studio, 1673
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629 – 1667 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Hunter Getting Dressed after Bathing, ca. 1654–56
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Pieter van Laer (Haarlem 1599 – 1642 Italy?)
Artwork title
Self-Portrait with Magic Scene, ca. 1635–37
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629 – 1667 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Young Woman Seated in an Interior, Reading a Letter, ca. 1658–61
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jacob van Loo (Sluis 1614 – 1670 Paris)
Artwork title
Young Man Reading, ca. 1650
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerard ter Borch the Younger (Zwolle 1617 – 1681 Deventer)
Artwork title
Lady Tickling a Sleeping Soldier, ca. 1655
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerard ter Borch the Younger (Zwolle 1617 – 1681 Deventer)
Artwork title
Guardroom Interior with Soldiers Smoking and Playing Cards, ca. 1640
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jacobus Vrel (Active 1654 – 1662)
Artwork title
Interior with a Sick Woman by a Fireplace, ca. 1654–56
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jacob Toorenvliet (Leiden 1640 – 1719 Leiden)
Artwork title
Doctor’s Visit, ca. 1666–67
Medium
oil on copper
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gerard ter Borch the Younger (Zwolle 1617 – 1681 Deventer)
Artwork title
Musical Company, ca. 1642–44
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Steen (Leiden 1626 – 1679 Leiden)
Artwork title
Self-Portrait with a Lute: Sense of Hearing, ca. 1664
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Steen (Leiden 1626 – 1679 Leiden)
Artwork title
Peasants Merrymaking Outside an Inn (Previously “Fair at Warmond”), ca. 1676
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629 – 1667 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Old Woman at Her Meal in an Interior, ca. 1654–57
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Gabriel Metsu (Leiden 1629 – 1667 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Woman Selling Game from a Stall, ca. 1653–54
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Steen (Leiden 1626 – 1679 Leiden)
Artwork title
Prayer Before the Meal, 1660
Medium
oil on oak panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Eglon van der Neer (Amsterdam 1634/36 – 1703 Düsseldorf)
Artwork title
Lady Playing a Lute in an Interior, 1675
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Caspar Netscher (Prague or Heidelberg ca. 1639 – 1684 The Hague)
Artwork title
Portrait of Susanna Doublet Huygens, 1669
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Caspar Netscher (Prague or Heidelberg ca. 1639 – 1684 The Hague)
Artwork title
Two Women in an Interior with a Basket of Lemons, ca. 1664–65
Medium
oil on panel
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Johannes Vermeer (Delft 1632 – 1675 Delft)
Artwork title
Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, ca. 1670–72
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York

Historical Lessons and Tales of Morality

Within the context of genre scenes, historical subjects, and portraiture, Dutch artists often imbued their artworks with symbolic, and even moralizing meanings. These cautionary tales provide insight into seventeenth-century Dutch values, and serve as reflections of contemporary social, political, and religious events.

Jan Steen, Sacrifice of Iphigenia

Beware of Riches

Staging the Modern Artist: Expressions of a New Beginning

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Staging the Modern Artist: Expressions of a New Beginning

The artistic innovations of Rembrandt and his circle would prove instrumental for future generations of artists. Rembrandt’s late works, and those by his last pupil, Arent de Gelder, are characterized by the expressive brushwork and gravitas that would open the door for modern painting, and continue to influence artists today.
Artist Jan Steen (Leiden 1626 – 1679 Leiden)
Artwork title
Sacrifice of Iphigenia, 1671
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Steen (Leiden 1626 – 1679 Leiden)
Artwork title
Lazarus and the Rich Man or “In Luxury Beware”, ca. 1677
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Jan Steen (Leiden 1626 – 1679 Leiden)
Artwork title
Banquet of Anthony and Cleopatra, ca. 1673–75
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam)
Artwork title
Portrait of a Seated Woman with Her Hands Clasped, 1660
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
Artist Arent de Gelder (Dordrecht 1645 – 1727 Dordrecht)
Artwork title
Old Testament Figure, Probably King Solomon, ca. 1685–90
Medium
oil on canvas
The Leiden Collection, New York
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