Rembrandt, his contemporaries, pupils and predecessors are the focus of the new permanent exhibition at Museum Catharijneconvent. The museum presents the development of history painting in the Golden Age through masterpieces from its collection.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is Rembrandt’s The Baptism of the Man from Ethiopia, which presented along with works by his predecessors, pupils and contemporaries. This reveals how much influence Rembrandt had on the painting style of his pupils. Works by Ferdinand Bol, Govert Flinck, Pieter Lastman, Maerten de Vos, Dirck van Baburen and Pieter Aertsen, among others, take visitors through the history of biblical history painting
History painting depicting themes from the Bible, mythology and history, was highly regarded in the Golden Age. Biblical representations were in great demand. It allowed the patron or buyer to demonstrate his faith and knowledge of the Bible. The preference was for exciting and topical stories full of guile and deceit, passion, love, fidelity, murder and manslaughter. Rembrandt was the undisputed master of history painting in the Golden Age. In phenomenal fashion, he wielded the brush in a free loose painting style to bring stories from the Bible to life.
The new permanent display is in anticipation of the theme year “Rembrandt and the Golden Age” that is being organized in 2019, which marks the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death. Various museums in the Netherlands will then draw attention to the rich heritage of the Dutch Golden Age and the role Rembrandt had in it.