Rembrandt? The Case of Saul and David is about scientific research and restoration techniques. In this exhibition, the Mauritshuis will focus on a single painting: Saul and David, which was considered one of Rembrandt’s major works after its acquisition by Abraham Bredius in 1898. It was also a favorite at the Mauritshuis.
In 1969, a time when Rembrandt’s oeuvre was being re-examined, expert Horst Gerson de-attributed many of Rembrandt’s paintings, including Saul and David. Opinions about the attribution of the work have varied widely ever since: is it really by Rembrandt, by a pupil, or perhaps both? In order to solve the problem once and for all, the Mauritshuis decided to research and restore the painting in 2007. By applying state-of-the art techniques developed by Delft University of Technology and other academic institutions, and through collaboration with other specialists in the field of conservation science, the Mauritshuis team reached new and sometimes surprising conclusions.
The exhibition, the first of its kind, shows how fascinating discoveries were made about the creation and the history of the painting, which was cut into two pieces, most likely between 1830 and 1869, and subsequently reassembled. The research also demonstrated that the painting originally had larger dimensions; the exhibition presents the original format in a novel way, using a 3-D reproduction. It also provides an insight into the history of the attribution, and several experts are given the opportunity to voice their opinion about it, in a lively and interactive way.