CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Late Rembrandt and Old Age Creativity

Symposium: 30 April 2015

Information from the museum’s website, 24 March 2015

In conjunction with the exhibition Late Rembrandt the Rijksmuseum is organizing a symposium on the unique style developed by some artists in late life known as Altersstil (Old Age Style). Rembrandt’s late work possesses an unparalleled technical virtuosity and emotional depth. Other artists – not only painters and printmakers but also writers and composers – attained similar heights at the end of their careers. Although the phenomenon is well known, accounting for it is rather difficult. The question also arises whether Altersstil even exists?

During the symposium scholars of Old Age Style will discuss its manifestations in various art forms throughout the ages providing new insights on late life creativity in general and, indeed, on the enthralling climax of Rembrandt’s spectacular artistry in particular.


  • Taco Dibbits, Director of Collections Rijksmuseum – Welcome
  • Gregor Weber, Head of the Department of Fine and Decorative Arts Rijksmuseum – The History of the Concept Altersstil (Old Age Style)
  • Jane Mellanby, Emeritus fellow of St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford – The Psychology of Late Life Creativity
  • David Bomford, Director of Conservation, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston – Altersstil, the Non-finito and the Hand of the Artist
  • Joris van Gastel, Research fellow, University of Hamburg – Late Bernini
  • Jonathan Bikker, Research Curator, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam – The 17th-Century Dutch Artist grows old
  • Erik Hinterding, Curator of Prints, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam – Late Rembrandt
  • Marrigje Paijmans, PhD candidate, University of Amsterdam – Joost van den Vondel’s last Tragedy
  • Sam Smiles, Associate Professor, Art History and Visual Culture, University of Exeter – Late Turner
  • Carel Blotkamp, Emeritus Professor, History of Modern Art, University of Utrecht – The Altersstil of 20th-Century Artists

Symposium moderator is Peter Hecht, Professor of History of the visual arts 1600-1900, University of Utrecht

Thursday 30 April 2015 | 9:30 am – 6 pm
Rijksmuseum Auditorium
Regular participants € 50 | Students € 25
English spoken