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Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606-Amsterdam 1669)

Agatha Bas (1611-1658) Signed and dated 1641

Oil on canvas | 105.4 x 83.9 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 405352

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In art of this date a woman’s charm is usually shown through hesitancy – making eye-contact, but only with shrinking bashfulness. There is no precedent for Agatha Bas’s direct, steady and confident gaze. She is even painted in an uncompromising way: in the illusion of her thumb and fan, which seem to project beyond the ebony frame; and in the encrusted paint, sculpted into her lace and jewellery.

Acquired by George IV in 1819, when Prince Regent