Rembrandt's 'Jan Six' on temporary display at Rijksmuseum

7th September 2010, Comments 0 comments


The portrait of Jan Six, often considered Rembrandt’s most beautiful portrait, is only rarely put on display but can now be seen at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum until the end of November.

It is a kind of 'snapshot', painted in 1654. Jan Six is portrayed with one glove off, the other one just put on. Or is he about to take it off? Jan Six glances at the painter, his hat casting a light shadow over his eyes. Protruding from under his hat is a shock of curly hair. Jan Six, a cape draped over his left shoulder is well dressed, but not ostentatiously so.

This is not a run-of-the-mill Golden Age portrait intended to show off the subject’s wealth. This is a portrait as Rembrandt preferred to paint them: a portrait in which the subject’s character is far more important than the way they look. And it’s not a precise image either. Rembrandt merely suggests many of the details in the clothes, the face and the hair, as he increasingly did later in his career.

Jan Six was an Amsterdam regent who had commissioned Rembrandt to do a number of paintings, and who occasionally lent the same artist money. In the coming months, the Rijksmuseum will also put an etched portrait of Jan Six on display.

The portrait has been in the Six family since the 17th century. It forms part of their private art collection. The Amsterdam building which houses the collection is the property of the Dutch state. Now that it is being renovated, the Rijksmuseum has been granted permission to put the world-famous portrait on display.

The Rijksmuseum has created a special exhibition centred on the portrait: ".

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