Studying under a Genius
Exhibition: Rembrandt’s Late Pupils – Studying under a Genius
Period: 12 February to 17 May 2015
From 12 February to 17 May 2015 the Rembrandt House Museum is devoting an exhibition to the pupils Rembrandt trained during the last stage of his career, from around 1650 until his death in 1669. It is the first in a series of exhibitions centred on art education. The relationship between these pupils and their teacher will emerge from some ninety paintings, drawings and prints by Nicolaes Maes, Willem Drost, Abraham van Dijck, Jacobus Leveck, Heyman Dullaert, Arent de Gelder and others, seen alongside some of Rembrandt’s works. The composition sketches on display are illustrative of Rembrandt’s training. Rembrandt’s Late Pupils: Studying under a Genius is the first in a series of exhibitions focusing on art education that the Rembrandt House Museum will be staging. Traditionally the artist’s trade was passed on from master to pupil. This close relationship enabled art to flourish. Rembrandt’s Late Pupils: Studying under a Genius runs in parallel with the Late Rembrandt exhibition in the Rijksmuseum and is the result of collaboration between the two museums.
Relationship with Current Art Training
In response to Rembrandt’s Late Pupils: Studying under a Genius, Non-fiction, a cultural innovation agency, has developed a presentation in the Rembrandt House Museum, titled Studio R, exploring the relationship between masters and pupils in the history of art, from Rembrandt up to the present day.
In Studio R artists and other experts discuss the current significance of master-pupil relationships. What do contemporary ‘masters’ like Olafur Eliasson and Marina Abramović have in common with Rembrandt? The live conversations are open to the public and recordings can be heard in the studio.
Art Training in the Seventeenth Century
In Rembrandt’s day painters were trained in a hierarchical structure, with close collaboration between pupil and master that usually lasted for years. Like all other artists, Rembrandt had been thoroughly trained by at least two teachers before he started working as an artist in his own right. Rembrandt himself was giving lessons at an early age. From 1635, when he started his own workshop in Amsterdam, he took on more and more pupils. Among them were great talents like Ferdinand Bol, Carel Fabritius and Samuel van Hoogstraten.
Rembrandt’s Late Pupils
Although Rembrandt’s artistic views ran counter to the prevailing fashion, after 1650 he still attracted young painters like Nicolaes Maes, Willem Drost, Abraham van Dijck, Jacobus Leveck, Heyman Dullaert, Arent de Gelder and Gottfried Kneller. Without exception these artists had already been trained as painters. They went to Rembrandt to hone their skills before setting up as independent artists. For these young painters it was not only about Rembrandt’s virtuoso brushwork; they were also attracted by his unrivalled mastery of a wide range of subjects and techniques.
Samuel van Hoogstraten
It is interesting that several of Rembrandt’s late pupils had previously been trained by Samuel van Hoogstraten in Dordrecht, or had been in contact with him. Van Hoogstraten, who had been apprenticed to Rembrandt in the 1640s, returned to the town of his birth and sent painters he had trained on to Rembrandt. In 1678 he published a treatise on art that provides great insight into Rembrandt’s teaching method and is therefore a key element of the exhibition. Anecdotes drawn from this work reveal how Rembrandt addressed his pupils and how he taught them to depict narrative scenes by making compositional sketches.
We can say with certainty that fourteen artists were trained by Rembrandt in the period in question. Two of them can only be verified from documents, but work by the other twelve—paintings, drawings and prints—feature in this exhibition. It shows the extent to which they were indebted to Rembrandt for such aspects as composition, the use of colour, style and the way subjects were depicted.
Late Rembrandt exhibition in Rijksmuseum (12 February to 17 May 2015)
This year, the Rijksmuseum will be presenting its first major retrospective of the later work of Rembrandt van Rijn. Book your tickets for Late Rembrandt now, to be sure of a place among those visiting the exhibition of 2015!
Workshops and activities
A workshop programme in Rembrandt’s former Pupils’ Studio will take place simultaneously with the exhibition, and special activities showing the presentday relationships between teachers and pupils will be organized. There will also be a special educational programme for schools, with workshops in drawing and print making.
Blue Boat – Late Rembrandt
Special tickets issued in collaboration with Blue Boat and the Rijksmuseum will cover admission to the Rembrandt House Museum and the Late Rembrandt exhibition in the Rijksmuseum, and an exclusive canal cruise between them aboard Blue Boat, passing the places that were so important to Rembrandt. www.blueboat.nl
During the exhibition period you can book a Rembrandt’s Late Years city walk. A guide will show you the places that were important to Rembrandt in his late years, bookings: www.nightwatchwalks.nl
Rembrandt’s Late Pupils – Studying under a Genius was made possible thanks to the support of Fonds 21, the Mondriaan Fonds, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Stichting ‘De Gijselaar-Hintzenfonds’, K.F. Hein Fonds, Stichting Zabawas and Gravin van Bylandt Stichting.