No less than thirty-five paintings from The Leiden Collection, one of the largest private collections of 17th-century Dutch art ever, can be seen in Hermitage Amsterdam from 4 February. Rembrandt is the main character in both this collection and the exhibition. In addition, there are works by contemporaries Pieter Lastman, Ferdinand Bol and many others……
The exhibition ‘Rembrandt & contemporaries, history pieces from The Leiden Collection’ has been specially organized for the country of origin of the works. So they can now be seen in the city where many of these artists made them in the 17th century. For decades, the works were not on display in the Netherlands. Special attention is paid to ‘history painting’ – the most prestigious and powerful genre in 17th-century painting. In that period, the Dutch Masters were at the height of their abilities.
On display are works by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), who embraced the principle that a true master painter must be a history painter. It is precisely in this genre that a master can show that he excels in detailing, texture, composition, use of color and much more. History paintings in the 17th century were moralistic life lessons in which gods, heroes or Biblical characters figure. At the center of the exhibition is his masterpiece Minerva in her Study (1635), along with his Bust of a Bearded Old Man (1633), his smallest known painting (oil on paper) – so small it fits in the palm of your hand.
There are also history paintings by contemporaries, artists who are directly associated with Rembrandt. Such as masterpieces by his teacher, Pieter Lastman (1583-1633), and by pupils and followers, including Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680) and Arent de Gelder (1645-1727). A particularly important work is Hagar and the Angel by Carel Fabritius (1622-1654). The only one of this rare master’s 13 paintings, this remarkably compelling and evocative work is still privately owned and is on display in the Netherlands for the first time in almost two decades.
The exhibition also includes history paintings by artists best known for their genre scenes and portraits, such as Frans van Mieris (1635-1681), Caspar Netscher (1639-1684), Godefridus Schalcken (1643-1706) and Jan Steen (1626-1679) .
The Leiden Collection
The Leiden Collection comprises 250 paintings and drawings and is one of the largest and most important privately owned collections of 17th-century Dutch paintings. In 2017, the founders of this collection, the collectors Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan and Daphne Recanati Kaplan, started a world tour showcasing the masterpieces of Rembrandt and his contemporaries. After the start at the Louvre in Paris, the paintings then traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Abu Dhabi.
This is the second major exhibition from abroad at the Hermitage since the premature closure of the Russian Avant-Garde exhibition in March 2022 and the severing of ties with the museum in Russia.
Rembrandt & contemporaries, history paintings from The Leiden Collection, 4 February to 27 August 2023, Hermitage Amsterdam, Amstel 51.