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04 March 2020

The magnificent rise of the Young Rembrandt

The magnificent rise of the Young Rembrandt Rembrandt van Rijn: Self-portrait in a cap, wide-eyed and open-mouthed (1630). Etching and drypoint on laid paper, 5.2 x 4.7 cm. Courtesy of the Ashmolean Museum.

Young Rembrandt at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (until 7 June 2020) is a major exhibition following the extraordinary development of the artist in his first decade at work, from 1624-34. It features 31 paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–69) himself, along with 13 by his most important contemporaries, and a further 90 drawings and prints from international and private collections. It also includes the newly discovered painting Let the Little Children Come to Me (1627–8), on public display for the first time.

Co-curator Professor Christopher Brown, Director-Emeritus of the Ashmolean and expert on Dutch painting and Rembrandt, writes: "The first decade of Rembrandt’s career is central to any understanding of his work as a whole. In his early paintings, prints and drawings, we find a young artist exploring his own style, grappling with technical difficulties and making mistakes. But his progress is remarkable and the works in this exhibition demonstrate an amazing development from year to year. We can see exactly how he became the pre-eminent painter of Amsterdam and the universally adored artist he remains 350 years after his death."

Professor Christopher Brown's co-curators are Ms An Van Camp, Curator of Northern European Art, Ashmolean Museum; Dr Christiaan Vogelaar, Curator of Old Master Paintings and Sculpture, Museum De Lakenal. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue.