exhibitions and presentations
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  • Free admission on Friday July 15, 2022
  • On July 15 Jeroen Spijker will tell all about his project in the museum

from 5 till 31 July 2022

The smallest work of art in the world by Jeroen Spijker

Together with Leiden University, Leiden sculptor Jeroen Spijker has created the smallest work of art in the world. It is a platinum mini-statue of Rembrandt, who was born in Leiden on July 15, 1606. It is 28 micrometers, no bigger than a third of the thickness of a human hair, and made with a 3D printer.

In honour of Leiden European City of Science 2022, Jeroen Spijker has made a polymer micro-sculpture of Rembrandt together with physicists from Leiden University. It is only 28 micrometers high, about a third of the thickness of a human hair, and made with a 3D printer. According to Spijker, this makes it the smallest work of art in the world.

From 5 to 31 July 2022, the sculpture will be on display in Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden, where visitors can experience that it cannot be seen with the naked eye. The sculpture is presented in the same hall as paintings by Rembrandt. A short film about the making of process is also on show.


Spijker worked together with Dr Daniela Kraft and Dr Rachel Doherty of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at Leiden University. The basis was a bronze statue of Rembrandt that Spijker made earlier. That image was digitally scanned and then printed as small as possible with a 3D printer.

Jeroen Spijker: ,,I wanted to realise a sculpture that I could still accept as a work of art with my signature. It is now recognisable as a human figure with a hat in one hand and a canvas in the other. Anything smaller would have resulted in too many distortions.

After several attempts, the image was reduced to 28 micrometers. A micrometre is one thousandth of a metre. In the lab, it can be seen with a special electron microscope when it is coated in a platinum layer, to reflect the light.

Family party

On Friday 15 July it will be 416 years ago that the famous painter Rembrandt van Rijn was born in Leiden. On 15 July we will treat everyone with free access to the museum. For families with children there will be lots to do all day long. Draw Rembrandt upside down in the Open Studio or take a playful family tour or go. The creator of the smallest work of art in the world - which you can't see with your naked eye - is also waiting for you, and you can become a true Rembrandt expert by attending the special children's lecture. And of course there will be a tasty treat for everyone.