in Amsterdam


Creativity and Competition

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Rembrandt – a great name, a world-famous master. But how did the miller’s son from Leiden become so successful? In the cosmopolitan city of Amsterdam, he competed with numerous other talents on an art market that is unparalleled in history. Rembrandt’s inventiveness and his idiosyncratic pictorial language in painting and graphic art continue to fascinate and move people to this day.

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About the Exhibition

This autumn the Städel Museum is celebrating the work of the greatest of Dutch artists of the 17th century: Rembrandt van Rijn. The exhibition “Rembrandt in Amsterdam: Creativity and Competition” is the first to trace Rembrandt’s rise from a young, ambitious artist from Leiden to a famed master in Amsterdam. The story is told through 60 of Rembrandt’s artworks placed in direct dialogue with paintings by other artists of his time. The exhibition combines the important Frankfurt holdings of Rembrandt’s work, including The Blinding of Samson (1636), with a string of stellar loans from major museums in Europe and North America. Around 140 paintings, prints, and drawings by Rembrandt and his contemporaries – loaned from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Gemäldegalerie Berlin, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, the National Gallery in London, the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington – reveal the artist’s impressive rise, breakthrough, and market domination in the 1630s to the mid-1650s.

As a painter, Rembrandt produced an astonishingly rich and varied oeuvre made up of landscapes, genre scenes, and still lifes, but he is best known for his dramatic history paintings and realistic portraits. His interaction and exchange with other painters shaped both his development as an artist and his entrepreneurial ambitions. Amid the rivalry and competition that characterized the inspiring atmosphere of Amsterdam at the time, where many talented artists were courting the favour of the wealthy bourgeoisie, Rembrandt developed his uniquely expressive visual vernacular, which ultimately allowed him to rise to the top of this fiercely contested art market.

The exhibition is organized by the Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

Curator: Prof. Dr. Jochen Sander (vice Director and Head of Dutch, Flemish, and German Painting before 1800, Städel Museum)
Curatorial assistance: Dr. Friederike Schütt (Department of Dutch, Flemish, and German Painting before 1800, Städel Museum)

Picture: Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Self-Portrait with Velvet Beret, 1634, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Photo: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie – Christoph Schmidt

Sponsors and patrons


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    Rembrandt, The Blinding of Samson, 1636

    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606–1669)
    The Blinding of Samson, 1636
    Oil on canvas, 206 × 276 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Photo: Städel Museum – U. Edelmann

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    Rembrandt, Tronie of a Man with a Feathered Beret, c. 1635–40

    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606–1669)
    Tronie of a Man with a Feathered Beret, c. 1635–40
    oil on panel, 62.5 × 47 cm
    Mauritshuis, The Hague
    Photo: Mauritshuis, The Hague

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    Rembrandt, Judith at the Banquet of Holofernes, 1634

    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606–1669)
    Judith at the Banquet of Holofernes, 1634
    Oil on canvas, 143 × 154,7 cm
    Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

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    Rembrandt, The Abduction of Ganymede, 1635

    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606–1669)
    The Abduction of Ganymede, 1635
    177 × 129 cm, Oil on canvas
    Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden

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    Rembrandt, Landscape with a Stone Bridge, c. 1638

    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606–1669)
    Landscape with a Stone Bridge, c. 1638
    oil on panel, 29.5 × 42.5 cm
    Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Purchased with the support of the Rembrandt Association and A. Bredius, Amsterdam
    Photo: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

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    Ferdinand Bol, Self-portrait, c. 1647

    Ferdinand Bol (1616–1680)
    Self-portrait, c. 1647
    oil on canvas, 97.5 × 77.5 cm
    Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, The James Philip Gray Collection
    Photo: David Stansbury - The James Phillip Gray Collection

In the Digital Collection you will find many more Rembrandt works from the Städel Collection.

Digital Collection



Digital Offers

Digital Offers

  • Prepared for the exhibition


    A great way to prepare for your visit: with the Digitorial®, you can immerse yourself in Rembrandt’s dramatic and innovative visual world and learn more about Rembrandt’s time from today’s perspective through interactive modules, audio tracks, and informative short texts. Also available in German and French.

    To the Digitorial

  • Available as free App

    Audio Guide

    The audio guide app leads you through Amsterdam’s 17th century art market with info on each of the exhibition’s works, while basketball icon and ING brand ambassador Dirk Nowitzki returns you to the present day with tales from his own fascinating life. Rembrandt and Nowitzki, two luminaries from different eras, come face-to-face in this exhibition.

    To the Audio Guide

  • Podcast

    Blinded by Rembrandt

    A blind date with a masterpiece in four episodes: Journalist Michel Abdollahi, known for his gentlemanly manner, gets to grip with Rembrandt’s painting “The Blinding of Samson”. And he discusses some important questions about the human condition along the way.

    Available in German

    To the Podcast

Exhibition views

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    Exhibition view
    Photo: Städel Museum - Norbert Miguletz

  • + More

    Exhibition view
    Photo: Städel Museum - Norbert Miguletz

  • + More

    Exhibition view
    Photo: Städel Museum - Norbert Miguletz



Art Talks

Thursday, 13 January, 7.30 pm
Portrait and Self–portrait

English is your native tongue and you’d like to talk to others about art in that language? Or you’re a non-native speaker and would be interested in building on your knowledge of English outside your professional environment? With Art Talks, we are offering a program of guided tours providing a relaxed atmosphere in which the fine arts will inspire you to perfect your English. The prerequisite is good command of English; specialized knowledge is not required.

Costs: 16 Euro (includes entrance fee)
Tickets: Available at our Online Shop
Meeting-Point: Exhibition-Foyer

More information

Standpunkte zur Kunst (in English)

Wednesday, 20 October, 7 pm
Rembrandt and the Amsterdam Art Market

Online-Lecture with Prof. Dr. Stephanie S. Dickey (Queen’s University, Kingston and Guest Curator of the Exhibition „Rembrandt in Amsterdam”)
The recording of this already past online lecture can be found here.

Wednesday, 15 December, 7pm
Rembrandt and the Art Market today

Online-Lecture with Otto Naumann (Senior Vice President, Sotheby’s, Old Master Department)
Participation: The link to the lecture via Zoom will be available here in time for the event.
Free of charge

Find more details in German



Purchase your copy of the exhibition catalogue.

Buy now

Sponsors and patrons

Sponsors and patrons

Supported by
ING Deutschland, Dagmar-Westberg-Stiftung, Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.

Media partners
Süddeutsche Zeitung, ARTE

Culture partner

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