This week the Amsterdam Museum presents an exquisite loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The Portrait of Saskia van Uylenburgh by Rembrandt will be on view in the museum for a period of two years. The portrait has never been shown at a Dutch museum before and will feature in Amsterdam DNA, the museum’s permanent presentation. It will be on view there from 2 August onwards.
In addition to being a superb example of the artist’s genius, this portrait of Saskia van Uylenburgh also tells part of Rembrandt’s own personal story. He probably began painting the portrait in 1634/1635, shortly after he and Saskia were married, and only completed it some years later, around 1640. Following its recent reframing -covering later additions at the left-hand side and bottom- it is now even better possible to enjoy the amazing quality of this intimate portrait. The work was last shown in Europe in 1894, in Paris, and now makes its first appearance in a European museum.
Saskia van Uylenburgh
Saskia van Uylenburgh (1612-1642) was the first wife of Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669). Born to an affluent Frisian family, she married the artist in 1634. They had four children, only one of whom survived infancy: Titus. Saskia died in 1642, aged 29. She was buried in Amsterdam’s Oude Kerk.
National Gallery of Art and Amsterdam Museum
This loan is part of a long-term arrangement between the two museums. In 2012, a major group portrait by Bartholomeus van der Helst went from the Amsterdam Museum collection to the US for a five-year stay at the National Gallery of Art. It is joined there by a group portrait by Govert Flinck, also from the collection of the city of Amsterdam, but normally part of the Rijksmuseum collection.
This loan was made possible by the Dutch State: the Department of Cultural Heritage provided an indemnity guarantee on behalf of the Ministry of Education and, Culture and Science (OCW) and the Ministry of Finance.