© Photo: Kupferstichkabinett der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Jörg P. Anders (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Portrait of Saskia

Rembrandt, 1633
Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin

This drawing is Rembrandt’s most tender portrayal of his future wife, Saskia van Uylenburgh. Drawn skilfully in silverpoint, it was made on 8 June 1633, only three days after the couple’s betrothal. Rembrandt added a note explaining the precise circumstances of the creation of this drawing. Almost reminiscent of a diary entry, the young artist undoubtedly wanted to commemorate the joyous occasion. From beneath her wide-brimmed straw hat and holding a rose, Saskia is gazing lovingly at her future husband. The couple would marry a year later. Rembrandt completed numerous portraits of Saskia throughout their marriage – in drawing, print and painting. This drawing, however, is unique because of the intimate glimpse it provides into the artist’s life as a rare example of a lover’s cherished sketch.

An Van Camp, Christopher Brown Curator of Northern European Art, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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