Rembrandt From Amsterdam

So, this is what a mother gets from her daughters visit to Amsterdam. I love them! It’s a relief really, I mean Amsterdam! It could have been a very different gift…and I am lead to believe it nearly was! Good call girls, good call. 

 The above was my Facebook post to my friends, sharing a “mother moment”.

My two youngest daughters and a NZ friend, who now lives in London, spent a long weekend in Amsterdam this August just gone.

Before they flew over there, it was thought that they would go to the Rembrandt and Van Gogh museums; but alas, their small financial budget prohibited the experience.

Clearly, disappointed and obviously concerned that I would be disappointed for them, they bought me a set of Rembrandt coasters.

Still setting up our home and my liking for the appropriate coaster set for the décor of any one given room, I was delighted.

I have not got them all out; I have placed two on the piano for the moments when my youngest son is doing his practice.

I usually function with the obligatory mug of tea in my hand, so it seemed the right place for Rembrandt coasters, should I need to put my mug down while listening. This way time is not lost looking for something to put a hot mug on, saving our vintage piano from more abuse. Knocks and scratches may be forgiven, but a careless ring, never! A capital offence!

Please let me share with you the six prints that the coasters carry and please do let me know of your favourite Rembrandt which may not be numbered here.

Rembrandt was a Baroque artist, here the use of dark tones is to be expected.

The Blinding of Samson 1636-1642, 205X272cm, oil on canvas, Stadel, Frankfurt


This painting depicts a Biblical scene of Samson, having been betrayed by his girlfriend Delilah and given up to his enemies, the Philistines. Here we see him being forced to the ground and his eyes gouged out, thus blinding him. This painting is particularly noted because of Rembrandt’s masterful command of light and shade. That one is not on the piano.

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolae Tulp 1632, 73.5X55cm, oil on Panel, Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, Netherlands.


Here Dr. Nicolae Tulp is explaining the musculature of the arm to medical professionals. Some of the spectators are various doctors who paid commissions to be included in the painting. A cadaver! Not on my piano!

The Jewish Bride 1665, 121.5X166.5cm, oil on canvas, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.


The name of this painting was given in the early 19th century, when an Amsterdam art collector identified the subject as that of a Jewish father conferring a necklace upon his daughter on her wedding day. This interpretation is no longer believed, leaving the couple to keep their anonymity. This one gets a place on the piano.

The Night Watch 1642, 363X438cm, oil on canvas, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.



The painting is renowned for three characteristics: its massive size, the effective use of light and shadow, (tenebrism)and the perception of motion in what would have traditionally been a static military portrait. The painting is also full of symbolism eg – The dead chicken represents a defeated adversary. The colour yellow is often associated with victory. A close call, but not for the piano.

The Self Portrait with Two Circles 1665/1669, 114.3X94cm, oil on canvas, Kenwood House, London.


This painting is one of more than 40 self-portraits Rembrandt painted. It shows him at work.

Here, Rembrandt has one hand on his hip in a confrontational manner, persuading the viewer to concede his genius. Oh, we do.

Self Portrait The Prodigal Son in the Tavern 1635, 161X131cm, oil on canvas, Staatliche, Kunstsammlungen, Dresden.


This painting is a portrait of Rembrandt and his wife Saskia. they were sitters for this rather depraved narrative. In Rembrandt’s Protestant world, the theme of the prodigal son was a frequent subject for works of art due to its moral background. I like its cheeriness, so yes, it’s on the piano.

So, with that commentary, I echo my first applaud…good call girls, good call.

And to my reader I’d like you to make comment below about a Baroque painting or artist who fascinates you.


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