Am I Rembrandt? (8 Nov – 5 March 2017), the final display in the Making Discoveries series will bring the Dutch Master’s flamboyant Self-Portrait, Wearing a Feathered Bonnet, 1635, (on loan from Buckland Abbey, National Trust) to London for the first time. The display will also delve deeper into the Gallery's own works by the painter, including Girl at a Window, 1645, (below) shown for the first time with its surviving preparatory study.
The Self-Portrait’s status as an authentic work by Rembrandt has been questioned in the past but, following extensive technical analysis and investigative work by the National Trust and leading Rembrandt specialists, the painting was firmly attributed to the master in 2014. Am I Rembrandt? explores how curators and conservators worked together to authenticate the painting, and uses the loan as a starting point to examine the authorship of other works by Rembrandt acquired by the Gallery’s founders in the late 18th century.
Girl at a Window
Girl at a Window, (above) one of the Gallery’s most celebrated works, will be displayed next to the only known preparatory study for the work (on loan from the Courtauld Institute, London). This will be the first time both painting and study have been displayed together. The comparison reveals how Rembrandt transformed a quick charcoal sketch, made from life, into the finished painting.
Dulwich Picture Gallery’s paintings Jacob de Gheyn III and Girl at a Window are undisputed works by Rembrandt that are often used as a standard by which to judge unsigned paintings from the same periods. Exhibited alongside will be A Young Man, perhaps the Artist’s Son Titus, previously doubted as a genuine Rembrandt due to its degraded condition, and Jacob’s Dream, once a much admired Rembrandt until the restoration process revealed the signature of Rembrandt’s last pupil Aert de Gelder. The display offers a unique insight into the often challenging practise of attributing Old Master works, drawing upon a curator’s knowledge of the artist’s style; surviving documentation relating to the work’s history; and analytical investigations that reveal the artist’s materials and techniques.
About Making Discoveries
In 2016, Dulwich Picture Gallery will launch a series of displays that delve deeper into four major artists in the Gallery’s collection: Van Dyck, Dou, Rubens and Rembrandt. Examining the lives and techniques of each artist, the series will celebrate the creative processes of these Dutch and Flemish masters. Each display will also draw connections with guest works from other institutions and private collections that have never been seen together before.
Making Discoveries is curated by Dulwich Picture Gallery’s Arturo and Holly Melosi Chief Curator Dr Xavier Bray, with support from Assistant Curator Helen Hillyard. Lenders include the National Portrait Gallery, Hauser & Wirth, the National Trust as well as a number of private lenders.
'The research for ‘Making Discoveries’ has been achieved through the new catalogue for the Dutch and Flemish collection at Dulwich Picture Gallery to be published in Autumn 2016. This will be the first comprehensive catalogue covering this part of the collection and will include over 220 paintings, detailing their provenance and historical significance.
Making Discoveries is supported by The Elizabeth Cayzer Charitable Trust and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation