1635 or earlier
Oil on wood
Framed: 97.8 x 83.8 x 6.4 cm (38 1/2 x 33 x 2 1/2 in.); Unframed: 77.5 x 64.8 cm (30 1/2 x 25 1/2 in.)
The Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Collection 1944.90
This painting is probably a pendant to a portrait of a man that is now at the Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art in Japan. Both were cut down from their original rectangular shape.
At the age of 25, Rembrandt moved from his hometown of Leiden to the bustling city of Amsterdam. Within a few years he had become one of the city’s most successful portrait painters, creating remarkably vivid likenesses that seemed to express the personality and soul of the sitter. Here, Rembrandt used smooth, fluid brushstrokes to recreate the soft texture of the woman’s skin. In contrast, thicker, more textured strokes draw attention to the lavish display of her lace collar and gold jewelry—details sure to please a wealthy client. The extraordinary demand at that time for a portrait by Rembrandt meant that in many cases (including, probably, this painting) he called upon assistants to help complete the work.
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