Thursday, 29 October 2020

Largest collection of artist’s first work

THE first major exhibition in the UK to examine the early years of the artist Rembrandt has opened at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

Young Rembrandt focuses on his first decade of work, from 1624–34, and charts his meteoric path to becoming one of the greatest artists of all time.

The exhibition is the largest collection of works devoted to the young Rembrandt to date, featuring 34 of his paintings alongside 10 by his most important contemporaries and a further 90 drawings and prints from international and private collections.

It also features the newly discovered Let the Little Children Come to Me (1627–8) on display for the first time in public.

The exhibition is co-curated by Professor Christopher Brown, director-emeritus of the Ashmolean and world-renowned expert on Dutch painting and Rembrandt.

He said: “The first decade of Rembrandt’s career is central to any understanding of his work as a whole. In his early paintings, prints and drawings we find a young artist exploring his own style, grappling with technical difficulties and making mistakes.

“But his progress is remarkable and the works in this exhibition demonstrate an amazing development from year to year. We can see exactly how he became the pre-eminent painter of Amsterdam and the universally adored artist he remains 350 years after his death.”

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606–69) was born in Leiden, the second largest city in the Dutch Republic, 30 miles south-west of Amsterdam.

He was the ninth child of a successful miller. His parents had academic aspirations for their youngest son and he was enrolled at the Latin School so that he could go on to study at the University of Leiden.

But by 1622 he had begun an apprenticeship with the city’s only history painter and was working on his first known paintings, the Five Senses series.

Young Rembrandt runs at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until June 7. Tickets are £6.75 to £16. For more information, visit www.ashmolean.org

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