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Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606 1669)
Portrait of a Forty Year Old Woman, possibly Marretje Cornelisdr. van Grotewal, 1634, oil on panel.
Purchased with funds contributed by individuals, corporations and the entire community of Louisville, as well as the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Frame conservation funded by Edith and Jacob Horn, The Horn Foundation 1977.16

In 1631, when Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam from his native Leiden, the city was rapidly becoming the major trading center in the Netherlands. The city’s growth and Rembrandt’s success as a professional portrait artist seemed to coincide and he had one of the most productive periods of his career. The vitality, character and expression in his likenesses earned him a reputation as one of the most sought after portraitists in the city. This portrait may have been commissioned by Peter Sijen, one of Amsterdam’s successful businessmen at the time. The sitter was unidentified for many years, but it is now thought to be Mr. Sijen’s Mennonite wife Marretje Cornelisdr. van Grotewal. A portrait in the collection of the Norton Simon Art Foundation in Pasadena, California has tentatively been identified as Marretje’s husband and may be the pair to this portrait The painting is remarkably well preserved for such an early example of Rembrandt’s work. Pigment and translucent glazes are built up layer by layer, and by using deft brushstrokes Rembrandt renders a very detailed and lifelike likeness.




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