Rembrandt, Self-portrait with Saskia, 1636
Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum
To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt’s birth in 1606, this is the latest in a series of exhibitions of the Fitzwilliam’s outstanding collection of the artist’s prints. It focuses on images of Rembrandt and his wife Saskia van Uylenburgh (1612-42), captured in formal portraits, intimate studies, and works where the artist used Saskia as a model for other subjects. Rembrandt’s well-known power to penetrate the human psyche in self-portraits is as powerful in etching as it is in painting. Perhaps even more moving are the informal studies that seem to give us a glimpse into a personal notebook in which the artist documented the appearance of his wife ill in bed, leading to the period of her final illness after the birth of their son Titus.