Rembrandt: True to life follows the work of the seventeenth-century Dutch master from his early years in Leiden in the 1620s through to his final years in Amsterdam in the 1660s. The exhibition presents more than 100 etchings, alongside paintings and drawings from the NGV Collection, and important loans from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; The Louvre Museum, Paris; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; and Teylers Museum, Haarlem. Across key themes, including self-portraits and portraits, religious motifs, landscapes, nudes and genre scenes, the exhibition gives insight into the scope of Rembrandt’s creative innovation.
Rembrandt was the first artist to fully explore the possibilities of etching, and his ambitious prints rival paintings in their complexity and emotional impact. The exhibition brings his prints into dialogue with a selection of paintings to highlight the original ways in which Rembrandt approached his subject matter, his brilliant re-imagining of biblical subjects, and the development of psychological complexity in narrative scenes and portraits. Throughout his life, Rembrandt often returned to favourite subjects with new perspective, constantly exploring the possibilities of storytelling through images.
Rembrandt: True to life also includes a recreation of Rembrandt’s own ‘Cabinet of curiosities’. Filled with prints and drawings, as well as artefacts and rare natural objects from Europe and Asia, this collection was a status symbol and an important source of inspiration for the artist.
The NGV holds the most important Rembrandt collection in the Southern Hemisphere, and this exhibition is a unique opportunity for audiences to explore the great range of the artist’s prints alongside some of his key paintings, in the most comprehensive exhibition of Rembrandt’s work to be held in Australia in twenty-five years.
The National Gallery of Victoria acquired its first work by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn in 1891 and has since assembled an outstanding and internationally recognized collection of the Dutch master’s works. This includes etchings, drawings and two key paintings that bookend the artist’s forty-five-year career. More than 100 of these works are presented in this comprehensive publication, accompanying the NGV exhibition Rembrandt: True to Life, which includes important loans from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and the Teylers Museum in Haarlem.
Petra Kayser (ed.), Rembrandt: True to Life, published by National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2023
Contributors: Laurie Benson, Jonathan Bikker, Jan Blanc, Caitlin Breare, Paul Crenshaw, Erik Hinterding, Petra Kayser, Ruth Shervington, Martin Sonnabend, Tom van der Molen, Marjorie E. Wieseman and Louise Wilson.