The Louvre Abu Dhabi has acquired a rare oil sketch by renowned Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn.
The painting, a study of the figure of Christ painted between 1648–56, is the first work by Rembrandt known to have been acquired for a public collection in the Gulf region, according to the museum.
It will make its first appearance at Louvre Abu Dhabi in the exhibition “Rembrandt, Vermeer & the Dutch Golden Age: Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection and the Musée du Louvre” before joining Louvre Abu Dhabi’s permanent collection.
The exhibition will showcase paintings and drawings by renowned Dutch artists Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer and their contemporaries.
One of the highlights of the exhibit, which opens on Feb. 14, is Johannes Vermeer’s “Young Woman Seated at a Virginal” (1670-72) and “The Lacemaker” (1669-70 ), which will hang beside each other for the first time in 300 years.
On show until May 18, the exhibition is curated by Blaise Ducos, chief curator of Dutch and Flemish paintings at the Musée du Louvre, and Lara Yeager-Crasselt, curator of The Leiden Collection and a specialist in 17th century Dutch and Flemish art.
The exhibition “traces two main narratives – Rembrandt’s development as an artist, as seen through The Leiden Collection’s 15 works by the artist, and the development of genre painting in 17th-century Holland, as shown through The Leiden Collection’s extraordinary depth of works by the fijnschilders (fine painters),” Yeager-Crasselt said in a released statement.
Ducos explained more about the context in which these artworks were created hail in a released statement.
“During the 17th century, exceptional economic, social and political circumstances enabled one country, the Republic of the United Provinces, to become the world’s leading economic power. The Dutch were living in what they considered a ‘Golden Age.’ In this context, major artistic figures like Rembrandt or Vermeer flourished. Through the confrontation of masterpieces from the Musée du Louvre and The Leiden Collection, this exhibition tells this extraordinary story.”
The exhibition will unfold in six sections: At the Heart of the Dutch Golden Age; Extraordinary Beginnings: Rembrandt van Rijn in Leiden; The Center of the Golden Age: Rembrandt van Rijn in Amsterdam; Fine Painting in Leiden: Gerrit Dou, Frans van Mieris and their Contemporaries; Picturing Everyday Life in the Dutch Republic; Historical Lessons and Tales of Morality.
Alongside the exhibition, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will run a cultural program featuring film screenings curated by Emirati artist Hind Mezaina, pop-up costumed performance in the museum galleries as well as talks and workshops on the show.