Rembrandt & Love

July 1 – October 15, 2023

Rembrandt is known as a passionate man. But do you see that reflected in his etchings? In the summer exhibition Rembrandt and Love you’ll look at love through Rembrandt’s eyes: from dramatic love to parental love, from charity to love for animals. Of course, Rembrandt’s own love life will also be featured: the artist immortalized his first great love, Saskia Uylenburgh, on the etching plate more than once. Rembrandt and Love will show more than 50 etchings from the collection of The Rembrandt House Museum. You can’t help but fall in love.

Great love

There is no doubt about who Rembrandt’s great love was. That was Saskia Uylenburgh, the daughter of the burgomaster of Leeuwarden. The couple married in 1634 and had a son. Quite soon disaster struck: Saskia died in 1642. Rembrandt was devastated by her death. After Saskia he went on to have love affairs with Geertje Dircx and Hendrickje Stoffels. But he only ever made etchings of Saskia. Rembrandts etched her at her most beautiful, hung with pearls, but also at her most vulnerable, during her sickbed. The exhibition Rembrandt & Love goes beyond Rembrandt’s great love. The eight themes that follow reveal all of Rembrandt’s loves, both in life and in art.

Getting to know Rembrandt

Rembrandt etched several scenes of dramatic love. They demonstrate his passion for grand and compelling stories. But his prints also feature playful love between people. His depictions of parental love and charitable love show his great empathy. And because of the many dogs sniffing around in his etchings, we can be fairly certain that Rembrandt must have been a “dog person”. His prints also reveal what Rembrandt’s two greatest hobbies were: collecting rarities for his art room and taking walks in and around Amsterdam – with both forms of pastime, he united the pleasant with the useful. And what about his self-portraits? Was this self-love, or just clever marketing?

A good look

Many of Rembrandt’s etchings in Rembrandt & Love are an invitation to look closely. After all, the display of love is not always laid on thick. Take, for example, one of Rembrandt’s most famous etching: The Three Trees from 1643. The swelling clouds, the pelting rain and the lone group of trees provide a lot of drama. This suits the fierce passion of the young couple. Can you spot the tucked-away lovers in this etching?

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