REMBRANDT HARMENSZ. VAN RIJN
Portrait of Maertgen van Bilderbeecq
Oil on oakwood
Inv. No. 912
67.4 × 55.2 cm
With its oval format, modest staging and reduced palette, this painting is representative of a portrait type repeatedly employed by Rembrandt during his Amsterdam period. Thus even if it is not unique, the portrait is captivating by virtue of the immediacy with which the features of the well-nourished young woman have been recorded. The open brushwork conveys a sense of liveliness and the layering of various precious textiles such as the lace bonnet border and the delicate fabric of the “wagon-wheel collar” are testimonies to painterly skill. Oddly, the male counterpart – the portrait of Maertgen’s husband Willem Burchgraef by Daniel Mijtens, whereabouts unknown – was not painted until 1635.