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The Rijksmuseum Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 2 (2023)

The latest issue of The Rijksmuseum Bulletin is published in honor of Gregor Weber, who recently retired as the museum’s Head of the Fine Arts Department. Among other things, the issue includes contributions about the jar that is visible in Vermeer’s Woman with a Pearl Necklace (Berlin), Rembrandt’s The Standard Bearer, and Leonaert Bramer.

The Bulletin is available in an open access format on

The Rijksmuseum Bulletin

Vol. 71 No. 2 (2023)

On the Departure of Gregor Weber
Editorial by Taco Dibbits

Vermeer’s Jar
Christina An and Menno Fitski write about the jar in Vermeer’s painting of Woman with a Pearl Necklace (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin). Whereas it was previously believed to have been painted after a Chinese example, they identify a Japanese prototype and describe the trade relations with Delft.

Breytspraak: A Dynasty of Amsterdam Cabinetmakers
Reinier Baarsen discusses a recently acquired table (c. 1825-30) with a rare maker’s label that prompts further examination of the various generations of furniture makers from the Breytspraak family.

Sijmon Andries Valckenaer: An Amsterdam Silversmith in the Spirit of Paul van Vianen
Dirk Jan Biemond emphasizes the influence of the sculptural artistry of Paul van Vianen in silversmithing; for instance, the Amsterdam silversmith Sijmon Andries Valckenaer (1609-1672) worked in the same spirit.

Leonaert Bramer and Delftware: Additions and Missing Links
David de Haan and Femke Diercks expand upon the existing research on Leonaert Bramer (1596-1674) and identify new drawings and objects that illustrate the involvement of painters in the Delft earthenware industry.

The ‘Absolute Colour Music’ of Jan van Deene: Inventing Abstraction in Paris 1911-13
Ludo van Halem discusses the work of De Onafhankelijken, a group of painters who introduced the first abstract art in the Netherlands. They were reviled in the press, and their contribution was only recognized late. For example, Jan van Deene’s Peinture VII (1913) was only included in the Rijksmuseum collection in 2019.

Constantijn Huygens and his ‘East Indian Writing Tray’
Jaap Jongstra and Jan van Campen describe a letter from Constantijn Huygens from 1629 in which he asks a supplier to provide a writing tray made of red lacquer, exactly like the one he already possessed. Objects with red lacquer were still very rare at that time. Some other objects from Huygens’ collection are now housed in the Rijksmuseum.

The Faulty Feet of an Emerald Parrot
Suzanne van Leeuwen presents a jewel in the shape of a parrot, consisting of two emeralds adorned with diamonds, made around 1600. The maker had many examples within reach at that time, but the details make it clear that this jewel was not crafted to resemble a living bird.

Rembrandt’s The Standard Bearer: New Findings from Imaging Analyses
Petria Noble, along with Annelies van Loon and Jonathan Bikker, examined the paint application and composition in Rembrandt’s The Standard Bearer and concluded that some pigments used for the costume have lost their colour; however, the white flag is as intended. It is also now clear how the artwork was restored in 1958.

A Portrait by Marie Bashkirtseff: Rediscovery and Reception
Jenny Reynaerts describes a portrait made by Marie Bashkirtseff (1858-1884) of her sister-in-law, which was gifted to the Rijksmuseum by her mother in 1902. It was only displayed in the museum until 1916. Despite the artist’s reputation as a writer and the high quality of the artwork, it was not displayed again until 2013.

A Closer Look at a Russian-Orthodox Triptych
Quintly van Tilburg examines a boxwood triptych created around 1800 in or around Moscow, donated to the museum by Baron Brakell tot den Brakell from Arnhem. The iconography represents Orthodox Christianity and corresponds to a triptych created a century later.

Luo Mu’s Landscape in the Styles of Ni Zan and Huang Gongwang
Ching-Ling Wang explains how Chinese painters learned their craft by imitating the styles of esteemed masters from the past. A landscape painting with an inscription by Luo Mu in the Rijksmuseum collection reveals that there was also a pursuit to find a disctinctive, personal painting style.