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Dr Howells Recommends…


I really do recommend going to see “Rembrandt: The Late Works” just along the street at the National Gallery. It’s a remarkable opportunity to see so many of Rembrandt’s late (and I believe best) pictures in one place at one time –gathered on loan from leading museums around the world.

Highlights include some marvelous self-portraits (including his last), his group portrait ‘The Syndics’ (1662), three states of his masterpiece print ‘The Three Crosses’ (1653) hung together for comparison, the so-called ‘Jewish Bride’ (c 1665), ‘A Woman Bathing in a Stream’ (1654), and what is probably his last ever painting: ‘Simeon and the Infant Christ in the Temple’ (c 1669). The ‘Jewish Bride’ is a painting I have never particularly liked –but to see it in the original has made me reconsider my opinion. It’s magnificent. And while I still consider the huge ‘Conspiracy of the Batavians’ to be over-rated, it is fascinating when compared to the small study in ink hanging next to it (until December 29th).

Get there early in the day to beat the crowds and to really get up close to the detail and wonder of Rembrandt’s late technique. The exhibition runs until January 18th. My Visual Culture students, in particular, will find it a treat.

Richard Howells

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