Rembrandt was not only a celebrated artist and teacher, he was also an avid collector of art and all kinds of inspirational objects. These objects were kept in a room in Rembrandt’s house that was designed solely for this purpose: the art room. Every week, we highlight an object from Rembrandt’s own collection. This week: his collection of weapons.
Rembrandt’s collection included several kinds of weapons, used by the artist as examples for his paintings. He combined these existing weapons often with weapons he made up. When we look at his painting The Night Watch, we see long peaks on the right in the background – these are true to reality. But, also in the background, we see the man in the middle wearing a helmet that didn’t exist. Helmets weren’t used in the 1640s at all. The firearms in this painting are all painted from existing examples, just as the peak with the wide point and decorative tassel that is being held by Willem van Ruytenburch.
Left: Part of Rembrandt’s Art Room in The Rembrandt House Museum | Right: Rembrandt, Officers and Men of the Amsterdam Kloveniers Militia, the Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq, signed and dated ‘Rembrandt f 1642’. Canvas, 363 x 438 cm, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum