Monday, May 2, 2011

Macro Monday - Rembrandt's "Girl Wearing Gold-Trimmed Cloak"


IMG_6976 Rembrandt van Rijn
Girl Wearing Gold-Trimmed Cloak (detail), 1632
Rembrandt van Rijn, (Dutch 1606-1669)

Last fall, my son and I went on a Southern California college tour. On our way from San Diego to Santa Barbara, we had time to visit The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. A lobby sign announced that there was a portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn on exhibit. I was unfamiliar with this portrait and looked forward to seeing her.

IMG_6974 Rembrandt van Rijn
Girl Wearing Gold-Trimmed Cloak,, 1632
Rembrandt van Rijn, (Dutch 1606-1669)

When I was in the presence of this young girl, she took my breath away. My response reminded me of the time I was face to face with Rembrandt's portrait of his son Titus.

Portrait of a Boy in Fancy Dress aka Titus, 1655
Rembrandt van Rijn, (Dutch 1606-1669)

I marvel at Rembrandt's ability to capture the tenderness in the eyes of his subjects. Though his painting style evolved in the intervening twenty or so years, these portraits convey the trust his sitters have in him as he portrays not just their image, but also their spirit.

The young female in Girl Wearing Gold-Trimmed Cloak is believed by some to be Rembrandt's sister. It would explain the trust in her eyes and her frequent appearances in his paintings. One of Getty's prized paintings is Abduction of Europa, painted by Rembrandt in the same year.

The Abduction of Europa, 1632
Rembrandt van Rijn, (Dutch 1606-1669)
J. P. Getty Museum (61 x 78 cm)

It was a privilege to see the young girl's portrait hanging side by side with the masterpiece portraying her as Europa being abducted by Jupiter as a bull. 

The Abduction of Europa (detail), 1632
Rembrandt van Rijn, (Dutch 1606-1669)
J. P. Getty Museum (61 x 78 cm)

Rembrandt used Ovid's telling of the myth as his inspiration:
“He moved among the cows, more beautiful than they or other bulls,
he strolled spring grasses, white as the snow untouched
by southern rains or footprint on the ground,
huge, silky muscles at his neck and silvered dewlaps hanging,
horns as white as if a sculptor’s hand had cut them out of pearl.
And no one feared his look, forehead and eye were gracefully benign…
Agenor’s daughter gazed at him in wonder.”
(Ovid, Metamorphoses II.849-59)
Centuries later, in 1975, the young girl was abducted once again. This time in Boston at the Museum of Fine Arts, when two men stole Girl Wearing Gold-Trimmed Cloak at gunpoint. The following year, she was dramatically returned by a man in a ski mask. Law enforcement officials found her, wrapped in an old brown quilt, after they surrendered the keys to the trunk of their car to the masked man.

The painting was back on exhibit in Boston for another decade. In 1986, the owner, Robert Treat Paine IIdecided to auction off the portrait before new capital gains tax laws would come into effect the following year. He bought the painting in 1929 for $125,000 from Prince Johannes II of Lichtenstein. I shudder to think what the tax bill would have been since the masterpiece brought the record price of $10.3 million. An anonymous New York collector has generously loaned the painting to the Getty Institute for an extended period of time.

Please visit Lisa at Lisa's Chaos for more Macro Monday images.
_________
Citations

"Philolog: Rembrandt and Ovid: The Abduction of Europa, 1632; Metamorphoses II.849-59 and the Myth Tradition." Metamedia at Stanford. Web. 02 May 2011.

Kennedy, Randy. "Portrait of a Girl Wearing a Gold-Trimmed Cloak - J. Paul Getty Museum - Art - New York Times." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 02 May 2011. Web. 02 May 2011.

37 comments:

CC said...

Never saw this one either. WOW!!
It is exquisite. Such a beautiful sweet face.

Mama Zen said...

Simply gorgeous!

Kala said...

Gorgeous painting.

Happy Macro Monday!

Ruth said...

She looks like a porcelain doll. The delicacy of her face is astonishing.

I started reading The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony a couple weeks ago, Roberto Calasso's telling of the myth of Zeus and Europa, so I love seeing this Rembrandt of the abduction, which I haven't seen before.

You do a beautiful job in your site of displaying these masterpieces gloriously!

Margaret said...

Thank you for the history of this painting. She does radiate the honesty and sweetness of youth. Reminds me of my little boy. I have an adorable portrait of him smelling a handful of flowers - I plan on posting it tomorrow. He has the same glow to his skin, I think...

dona said...

The Paul Getty Museum seems to be so interesting!

Reader Wil said...

It's a beautiful portrait, but much smoother than the portrait of Titus, which is more like Rembrandt, I think.The history is very interesting! We learn a lot by blogging, don't we?!

Self Sagacity said...

priceless paintings, they are a lot of fun to see, thanks for sharing

lisa said...

How fortunate you were to see all of this beauty!
I especially love the first one.
I am sure I could stare at it for hours.

Forest Dream Weaver said...

I always think he captures the soul of the sitter and his painting style must have brought a breath of fresh air at the time.
Thanks for showing Europa,I don't remember having seen an illustration of this.

Thanks for your comment(s) on my blog!

Have a lovely day!

Linda Makiej said...

Beautiful works here!!
So happy to have found you to follow!

Ginnie said...

So, if I can't go myself to the Getty Museum, I will just go to DB's blog and drool there! Exactly!

Kris said...

Would love to see in person one day!

Self Sagacity said...

Fun to learn more about you today through the interviews and the about me. We're close in location.

Susan said...

They are all so beautiful! That white, white skin! I'll bet it never saw the sun. The eyes are what make the portraits come alive.

EG Wow said...

Rembrandt was truly amazing!!

Victoria said...

Marvelous images of the beautiful paintings... each and every one. And thanks for sharing all the information on each of them too... I too am not familiar with the lovely portrait of the young girl... The Abduction of Europa is one I'm familiar with (from studying art) but have never seen. (sorry it's taken so long to return the visit... much appreciate your stopping by my blog but this home improvement project has been cramping my style for sure when it comes to returning visits)

Dutchbaby said...

Dear CC,
I can't get over the skin tones and the asymmetry of her face. It was a true privilege to see her.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear MamaZen,
Yes, they are truly masterpieces.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Kala,
Happy Macro Monday to you too!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ruth,
Porcelain, yes! You always come up with the perfect words.

The abduction painting is remarkable, especially hanging alongside the portrait of the girl with that innocent face. Perfect casting, I'd say.

Thank you - I'm proud you like my presentation of these paintings.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Margaret,
Sorry it takes me so long to respond to these messages. I'm in the midst of the end-of-rowing-season madness. I couldn't find your post of your sweet son smelling the flowers. May I have a link please? I have no doubt it is adorable!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear dona,
Yes, the Getty is a very interesting place and I hope to post about its architecture soon.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Reader Wil,
Yes, Rembrandt's style changed in the twenty-three years between the portraits. The Titus portrait was unfinished; in fact, the right side of the canvas was cut off.

Yes, we all learn so much from blogging. It's one of the things that keeps me motivated.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Self Sagacity,
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Susan,
Yes, that white skin probably never saw the sun. Amsterdam gets about the same amount of rain as London does.

Those asymmetric eyes are what drew me into this painting.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear lisa,
Oops, I got out of sequence here.

Yes, a masterpiece can be studied for hours and hours, many times over.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear ForestDreamWeaver,
Yes, Rembrandt was a true trendsetter. The way he scored the white paint to create the depth effect of the collar must have been unique in his day.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Linda Makiej,
Thank you so much! Welcome to Dutchbaby!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear lisa,
Yes, a great painting can be studied for many years.

Dear Forest Dream Weaver,
I had only seen the Europa painting in reproductions; it was great to see it in person. Nothing like the real thing...

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Linda Makiej,
Thank you for your kind comments. Welcome to Dutchbaby; I'm glad that you arrived before Blogger ate so many comments.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ginnie,
Drool away, my dear! There's another Getty post brewing.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Kris,
The Getty is very different from New York museums; I think you would enjoy seeing it in person.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Susan,
What sun? This is The Netherlands - the land of rain and grey clouds.

You are so right, the eyes are central to every portrait.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear EG Wow!
Yes, he was a true master!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Victoria,
Please don't apologize for any delay. I am the queen of long-delayed comments. We all have a life beyond blogging (let's hope :-D ).

I'm happy you like these Rembrandts. The portrait of the girl is quite impressive in person. The white paint of the lace collar is very thick and scored with a palette knife or brush to give it extra depth.

I wish you all the best with your home improvement project.

Relyn said...

Your posts on art always thrill me. I am dreaming of going to another museum with you some day, my friend.

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