In the autumn of 2014, the National Gallery presented Rembrandt: The Late Works, the first ever in-depth exploration of the final phase of the master’s career. Far from diminishing as he aged, his creativity gathered new energy in the final years of his life. Indeed, it is the art of these late years – soulful, honest and deeply moving – that in many ways defines our image of Rembrandt the man and the artist. This exhibition offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the true passion, emotion and innovation of Rembrandt, the greatest master of the Dutch Golden Age.
From the 1650s until his death, Rembrandt (1606–1669) consciously searched for a new style that was more expressive and more direct, capable of conveying deep emotion with a remarkable economy of means. He freely manipulated drawing, printing and painting techniques, and gave new and original interpretations to traditional subject matter. The thematic organization of Rembrandt: The Late Works allows visitors to understand the ideas that most preoccupied him during these years: self-scrutiny, experimental technique, the use of light, the observation of everyday life, inspiration from other artists and responses to artistic convention, as well as expressions of intimacy, contemplation, conflict and reconciliation.
Organized in partnership with the Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt: The Late Works featured approximately 40 paintings, 15 drawings and 40 prints entirely by the master himself. Among the key works featured in the exhibition are The ‘Jewish Bride’ and The Sampling Officials of the Amsterdam Drapers’ Guild (‘The Syndics’), both from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam; The Suicide of Lucretia (The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota), Bathsheba with King David’s Letter (Musée du Louvre, Paris), Titus at his Desk (Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam), and Self Portrait with Two Circles (Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood House, London).
Even three and a half centuries after his death, Rembrandt’s art continues to astonish and amaze. His technical inventions and his profound insight into human emotions are as fresh and relevant today as they were in the seventeenth century.
Evening Visit and Private Introductory Talk by Dr Betsy Wieseman, Curator of Dutch and Flemish Paintings, took place on Friday 24 October at 6pm at the Sainsbury Wing.
This visit is made possible through the generosity of Shell, one of our Corporate Patrons and sole sponsor of the Exhibition.
The exhibition was open to the public from 15 October 2014 to 18 January 2015 at the Sainsbury Wing, National Gallery, London and will be open to the public in Amsterdam from 12 February to 17 May 2015.