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Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606-Amsterdam 1669)

"The Shipbuilder and his Wife": Jan Rijcksen (1560/2-1637) and his Wife, Griet Jans Signed and dated 1633

Oil on canvas | 113.8 x 169.8 cm (support, canvas/panel/stretcher external) | RCIN 405533

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This extraordinary double portrait has three of Rembrandt’s trade-marks: light, texture and humour. Cool daylight floods in from the left (from a window which does not appear), explaining all the forms and spaces in a composition without obvious perspective. The figures have a finely hewn presence as if the paint were moulded plaster. Their interaction is urgent, touching and slightly absurd.

Acquired by George IV in 1811, when Prince Regent