• Explore the MFA’s holdings of Rembrandt’s paintings. A portrait of Aeltje Uylenburgh, aged 62 by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606–1669)—on loan to the MFA from the collection of Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo—joins five other paintings by Rembrandt in the Museum’s permanent collection. Seen together, these paintings plot the evolution of Rembrandt’s work during the first part of his career, from his beginnings in Leiden through his relocation to Amsterdam.

    Start Tour
  • Artist in his Studio

    about 1628
    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669)

    Description

    In this small painting, the young Rembrandt seems to represent the daunting moments of conception and decision necessary to the creation of a work of art. An artist confronts his easel in a studio bare of everything except his essential tools. This drama, with its emphasis on thought rather than action, is intensified by the expressive use of light and shadow. The painting’s daring perspective is also important: the distant figure of the painter seems dwarfed by his work, looming large in the foreground.

    Provenance

    Chevalier Antoine de la Roque (b. 1672 - d. 1744), Paris; April, 1745, posthumous La Roque sale, Gersaint, Paris, lot 65, to Nelson. 1773, Le Favre and Jean Baptiste Pierre Le Brun (b. 1748 - d. 1813), Paris; January 11, 1773, Le Favre and Le Brun sale, Basan, Paris, lot 25. George Douglas (b. 1761 - d. 1827), 16th Earl of Morton and his wife, Susan Elizabeth Buller-Yarde-Buller (b. 1793 - d. 1849), Countess of Morton, Dalmahoy House, Kirknewton, Midlothian, Scotland [see note 1]; April 27, 1850, Countess of Morton sale, Christie's, London, lot 70, not sold [see note 2]; passed to the Countess of Morton's brother, John Buller-Yarde-Buller (b. 1799 - d. 1871), 1st Baron Churston, Lupton, Devonshire; until 1925, by descent within the family; June 26, 1925, Lord Churston and others sale, Christie's, London, lot 14, sold for £1417.10 to Zink, probably for Robert Langton Douglas (b. 1864 - d. 1951), London [see note 3]. By 1926, Zoë Oliver (Mrs. Henry S.) Sherman, Boston [see note 4]; 1938, gift of Zoë Oliver Sherman to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 31, 1938) NOTES: [1] In the 1926 Churston sale catalogue, the painting is said to be "formerly in the collection of the Right Hon. The Earl of Morton, at Dalmahoy, Kirknewton, Midlothian." The seller of the collection in 1850 was his (deceased) wife, the Dowager Countess of Morton. [2] The painting brought only six guineas when it was put up for auction in 1850. [3] Although published sale results give the purchaser as "Zink," Robert Langton Douglas is said to have acquired the painting by C. Hofstede de Groot, "Rembrandt's Painter in His Studio," Burlington Magazine 47, no. 272 (November, 1925): p. 265. [4] First published in her collection by W. R. Valentiner, "Two Early Self-Portraits by Rembrandt," Art in America 14 (1926): p. 118, fig. 1.

    Credit Line

    Zoe Oliver Sherman Collection given in memory of Lillie Oliver Poor

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Bredius 419; RRP A 18

    Dimensions

    Overall: 24.8 x 31.7cm (9 3/4 x 12 1/2in.)

    Accession Number

    38.1838

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    On View

    Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery (Gallery 242)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • Portrait of a Man Wearing a Black Hat

    1634
    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower right : Rembrandt fe / 1634

    Provenance

    Baron François-Florentin-Achille de Seillière (b. 1813 - d. 1873) [see note 1]; by descent to his daughter, Anne Alexandrine Jeanne Jeanne Marguérite Seillière (b. 1839 - d. 1905), Princess Sagan, Paris; 1889, sold by Princess Sagan to Durand-Ruel, Paris [see note 2]. 1889, Cottier and Co., London and New York [see note 3]; sold by Cottier to Frederick Lothrop Ames (b. 1835 - d. 1893), Boston; by descent to his widow, Rebecca (Mrs. Frederick L.) Ames (b. 1835 - d. 1905), Boston; 1893, gift of Mrs. Frederick L. Ames to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 12, 1893) NOTES: [1] First published as in the Seillière collection by C. Vosmaer, "Rembrandt: sa vie et ses oeuvres" (The Hague, 1877), p. 503; also see Alfred von Wurzbach, "Rembrandt - Galerie" (Stuttgart, 1886), p. 75, no. 320. [2] "Current News in the Fine Arts," New York Times, December 24, 1893, p. 13. [3] The Studio, n.s., vol. 4, no. 11 (October, 1889), p. 176.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Frederick L. Ames, in the name of Frederick L. Ames

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Bredius 197; RRP C 72

    Dimensions

    69.9 x 53 cm (27 1/2 x 20 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    93.1475

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    On View

    Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery (Gallery 242)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • Portrait of a Woman Wearing a Gold Chain

    1634
    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669)

    Description

    As a young painter newly arrived in Amsterdam, Rembrandt rapidly gained fame for his stylish portraits of Dutch burghers. Paired images of couples were common in the Netherlands; this painting and its companion, MFA Object No. 93.1475, show an unidentified husband and wife. Rembrandt captures the viewer’s attention with his vivid presentation of the woman’s engaging personality and the dazzling rendering of her multi-layered lace collar and gold chain. Rembrandt’s technique was already daring; he has scratched the highlights of his subject’s curly hair into the wet paint with the butt end of his brush.

    Inscription

    Upper right: R E M[...] / 16[...]

    Provenance

    Baron François-Florentin-Achille de Seillière (b. 1813 - d. 1873) [see note 1]; by descent to his daughter, Anne Alexandrine Jeanne Jeanne Marguérite Seillière (b. 1839 - d. 1905), Princess Sagan, Paris; 1889, sold by Princess Sagan to Durand-Ruel, Paris [see note 2]. 1889, Cottier and Co., London and New York [see note 3]; sold by Cottier to Frederick Lothrop Ames (b. 1835 - d. 1893), Boston; by descent to his widow, Rebecca (Mrs. Frederick L.) Ames (b. 1838 - d. 1905), Boston; 1893, gift of Mrs. Frederick L. Ames to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 12, 1893) NOTES: [1] First published as in the Seillière collection by C. Vosmaer, "Rembrandt: sa vie et ses oeuvres" (The Hague, 1877), p. 503; also see Alfred von Wurzbach, "Rembrandt - Galerie" (Stuttgart, 1886), p. 75, no. 320. [2] "Current News in the Fine Arts," New York Times, December 24, 1893, p. 13. [3] The Studio, n.s., vol. 4, no. 11 (October, 1889), p. 176.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Frederick L. Ames, in the name of Frederick L. Ames

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Bredius 346; RRP C 73

    Dimensions

    69.5 x 53 cm (27 3/8 x 20 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    93.1474

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    On View

    Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery (Gallery 242)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • Reverend Johannes Elison

    1634
    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669)

    Description

    The Reverend Johannes Elison was the minister of the Dutch Reformed Church in Norwich, England; his wife, Maria Bockenolle, is represented in the companion painting. The portraits were commissioned by their son, a wealthy Amsterdam merchant. Such life-size, full‑length portraits, a format typically associated with royal or noble patrons, were substantially more expensive than the more common bust or half‑length formats; Rembrandt painted only three full‑length pairs in his entire career. That the couple’s son could afford to commission these imposing paintings from Amsterdam’s leading portraitist says much about his social aspirations.

    Inscription

    Lower right: Rembrandt f 1634

    Provenance

    1634, commissioned by Johannes Elison the Younger (b. 1606 - d. 1677), Amsterdam; by inheritance to his sister, Ann Elison Dover (b. 1614 - d. 1681) and her husband, Daniel Dover (b. 1619 - d. 1702), Ludham, Norfolk, England; by descent through their daughter, Mary Dover Colby (b. 1649 - d. 1718) to the Colby family, Yarmouth, England; to Rev. Samuel Colby (b. 1781 - d. 1860), Little Ellingham Rectory, Norfolk, England [see note 1]; June 30, 1860, posthumous Colby sale, Christie, Manson and Woods, London, lots 22 and 23, sold for 1850 gns. to Fisher (dealer), London [see note 2]; 1863, sold by Fisher to Eugène Schneider (b. 1805 - d. 1875), Paris [see note 3]; April 6, 1876, Schneider sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, lots 29 and 30, bought in and sold by the estate to Schneider's son, Henri Schneider (b. 1840 - d. 1898), Paris; by descent within the family and, by 1956, sold by the Schneider family, Paris, to Rosenberg and Stiebel, New York [see note 4]; 1956, sold by Rosenberg and Stiebel to the MFA for $360,000 [see note 5]. (Accession Date: October 11, 1956) NOTES: [1] An English-language summary of the history of the portraits of Rev. Johannes Elison (b. about 1581 - d. 1639) and his wife, Maria Bockenolle (b. about 1590 - d. 1652), MFA accession nos. 56.510 and 56.511, can be found in J. Bruyn et al., A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings (Dordrecht, 1986), vol. 2, cat. A98, pp. 532-540 (with additional bibliography). They were commissioned by the sitters' son, Johannes Elison the Younger, in 1634, and were bequeathed by him to his siblings. The two portraits were recorded in Yarmouth as early as 1763 by Horace Walpole (see Anecdotes of Painting in England, London, 1828, p. 5), and specifically in the Colby collection by Sylas Neville; see The Diary of Sylas Neville: 1767-1788, ed. Basil Cozens-Hardy (London, 1950), pp. 176-177, entry for August 26, 1772. The provenance was first published in the 1860 Colby sale catalogue. [2] See the Art Journal (London), August 1860, p. 247. [3] On Schneider's acquisition of the portraits, see W. B., "Deux portraits innommés de Rembrandt," Révue Universelle des Arts 18 (1863): pp. 357-358, according to which Schneider purchased them in England. C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century (London, 1916), vol. 6, p. 310, cat. no. 645, states specifically that Fisher sold them to Schneider in 1863. [4] According to a letter from Saemy Rosenberg to Thomas Maytham of the MFA (October 24, 1956). Henri's son, Eugène Schneider (b. 1868 - d. 1942), lent the pair to the Exhibition of Dutch Art, 1450-1900 (Royal Academy of Arts, London, January 4 - March 9, 1929), cat. nos. 83-84. [5] The portraits of Rev. Elison and his wife were sold together for this price.

    Credit Line

    William K. Richardson Fund

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Bredius 200; RRP A 98

    Dimensions

    174.0 x 124.5 cm (68 1/2 x 49 in.)

    Accession Number

    56.510

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery (Gallery 242)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info
  • Maria Bockenolle (Wife of Johannes Elison)

    Mevr. Johannes Elison
    Maria Bockenolle

    1634
    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669)

    Description

    During his early years in Amsterdam, Rembrandt’s innovative and fashionable portrait paintings were a key factor in his growing reputation. Reverend Johannes Elison was minister of the Dutch Reformed Church in Norwich, England. In seventeenth century Dutch society, Protestant ministers were celebrated public figures. The portraits of Elison (MFA object no. 56.510) and his wife were probably commissioned by their son, a wealthy Amsterdam merchant. Such full-length portraits were substantially more costly than the more common bust and half-length formats. Rembrandt painted only three full-length portrait pairs, all about 1634, when he was trying to establish himself as an independent master.

    Inscription

    Lower right: Rembrandt f 1634

    Provenance

    1634, commissioned by Johannes Elison the Younger (b. 1606 - d. 1677), Amsterdam; by inheritance to his sister, Ann Elison Dover (b. 1614 - d. 1681) and her husband, Daniel Dover (b. 1619 - d. 1702), Ludham, Norfolk, England; by descent through their daughter, Mary Dover Colby (b. 1649 - d. 1718) to the Colby family, Yarmouth, England; Rev. Samuel Colby (b. 1781 - d. 1860), Little Ellingham Rectory, Norfolk, England [see note 1]; June 30, 1860, posthumous Colby sale, Christie, Manson and Woods, London, lots 22 and 23, sold for 1850 gns. to Fisher (dealer), London [see note 2]; 1863, sold by Fisher to Eugène Schneider (b. 1805 - d. 1875), Paris [see note 3]; April 6, 1876, Schneider sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, lots 29 and 30, bought in and sold by the estate to Schneider's son, Henri Schneider (b. 1840 - d. 1898), Paris; by descent within the family and, by 1956, sold by the Schneider family, Paris, to Rosenberg and Stiebel, New York [see note 4]; 1956, sold by Rosenberg and Stiebel to the MFA for $360,000 [see note 5]. (Accession Date: October 11, 1956) NOTES: [1] An English-language summary of the history of the portraits of Rev. Johannes Elison (b. about 1581 - d. 1639) and his wife, Maria Bockenolle (b. about 1590 - d. 1652), MFA accession nos. 56.510 and 56.511, can be found in J. Bruyn et al., A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings (Dordrecht, 1986), vol. 2, cat. A98, pp. 532-540 (with additional bibliography). They were commissioned by the sitters' son, Johannes Elison the Younger, in 1634, and were bequeathed by him to his siblings. The two portraits were recorded in Yarmouth as early as 1763 by Horace Walpole (see Anecdotes of Painting in England, London, 1828, p. 5), and specifically in the Colby collection by Sylas Neville; see The Diary of Sylas Neville: 1767-1788, ed. Basil Cozens-Hardy (London, 1950), pp. 176-177, entry for August 26, 1772. The provenance was first published in the 1860 Colby sale catalogue. [2] See the Art Journal (London), August 1860, p. 247. [3] On Schneider's acquisition of the portraits, see W. B., "Deux portraits innommés de Rembrandt," Révue Universelle des Arts 18 (1863): pp. 357-358, according to which Schneider purchased them in England. C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century (London, 1916), vol. 6, p. 310, cat. no. 645, states specifically that Fisher sold them to Schneider in 1863. [4] According to a letter from Saemy Rosenberg to Thomas Maytham of the MFA (October 24, 1956). Henri's son, Eugène Schneider (b. 1868 - d. 1942), lent the pair to the Exhibition of Dutch Art, 1450-1900 (Royal Academy of Arts, London, January 4 - March 9, 1929), cat. nos. 83-84. [5] The portraits of Rev. Elison and his wife were sold together for this price.

    Credit Line

    William K. Richardson Fund

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Bredius 347; RRP A 99

    Dimensions

    174.9 x 124.1 cm (68 7/8 x 48 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    56.511

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery (Gallery 242)

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

    Paintings

    More Info

Contents