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Maria Trip, daughter of one of Amsterdam’s wealthiest merchants, was twenty when Rembrandt painted her portrait. The artist placed Maria against a stone arch and devoted particular attention to the reflected light, the fashionable dress and jewellery. The costly garments are trimmed with strips of gold lace and Maria is wearing a profusion of pearls. Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, 1639

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Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Portrait of Marten Soolmans , 1634. Oil on canvas, 210 x 135 cm. Acquired by the Dutch State for the Rijksmuseum

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The Night Watch, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, 1642. Rembrandt’s largest, most famous canvas was made for the Arquebusiers guild hall. This was one of several halls of Amsterdam’s civic guard, the city’s militia and police. Rembrandt was the first to paint figures in a group portrait actually doing something. Rembrandt used the light to focus on particular details, like the captain’s gesturing hand and the young girl in the foreground. She was the company mascot.

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Rembrandts zoon Titus in monniksdracht, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, 1660. #Rijksmuseum

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Samplers checked the quality of dyed cloth. Here Rembrandt shows them at work, distracted for a moment and looking up. One syndic is about to sit, or stand, so not all the heads are at the same level. A clever trick which, with the confident brushwork and subtle use of light, make this one of the liveliest group portraits of the 17th century. Originally painted for the sampling hall (Staalhof), in 1771 it was acquired by Amsterdam’s town hall. Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, 1662

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Man in oosterse kleding, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, 1635. #Rijksmuseum

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Portrait of Haesje van Cleyburgh, 1634, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn.

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The Jewish bride, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, 1665. It seems that Rembrandt painted his subjects as the biblical couple, Isaac and Rebecca. Its popular name, the Jewish Bride, is a later invention. The portrait is painted with an extraordinarily free hand, as in the sleeve, where the paint is especially thick and shaped to reflect the light.

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Rembrandt drawing at a window, 1648, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn.

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Self-portrait at an early age, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, 1628. Despite his lack of experience, the young Rembrandt was not afraid to experiment. In this early self portrait the light brushes past his right cheek. The rest of the face is cloaked in shadow. It takes a moment to realise that the artist is staring intently, directly at the viewer. #Rembrandt used the back of his brush to scratch in the wet paint, to accentuate the curls of his wild, unkempt hair.

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