A Rembrandt for Leiden

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)
The Eyeglass Vendor or Sight, 1623-1624
Oil on panel - 21 x 17.8 cm
Leyde, Museum De Lakenhal
Photo : Museum De Lakenhal

17/2/12 - Acquisition – Leiden, Stedelijk Museum de Lakenhal - The museum in Leiden, Rembrandt’s hometown, has just acquired [1] a panel by this artist, The Eyeglass Vendor (ill. 1), painted when he was 17, that is, one of the very first paintings which can be attributed to the master. This is an allegory of sight in an ensemble of five representing the five senses, two of which are held in a private New York collection (Hearing and Touch). The Rembrandt Research Project confirmed this attribution which had been debated a few years ago.

This painting, in fact, does not resemble any of the master’s usual works. At 17, he was still training under Jacob van Swanenburgh, had not yet benefited from the lessons learned from Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam which were to influence him in a more permanent way or begun his collaboration with Lievens. Despite its slightly awkward composition, this painting has a certain charm with its bright colors and the caricatural faces of the figures, recalling those of the Flemish artist, Jan van de Venne.
Despite the drastic budget cuts experienced by Dutch museums (which we will soon have to discuss), this acquisition – the only Rembrandt in the collections of the Museum De Lakenhal – was made possible thanks to the contribution of the Société Rembrandt, the Mondrian Fund and the Friends of the Museum association.

Version française

Didier Rykner, dimanche 19 février 2012


[1] The name of the seller and the price were not disclosed.

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