News | 5 June 2024

Exhibition of Rembrandt’s first works at Museum De Lakenhal extended until 30 March 2025 due to popular acclaim

Rembrandt’s Four Senses – His First Paintings on display throughout the anniversary year

The exhibition of Rembrandt’s Four Senses – His First Paintings at Museum De Lakenhal has been extended until 30 March 2025 due to popular acclaim. The paintings, the earliest known work by the Leiden master, are on display at the museum as part of the Leiden city museum’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

Rave reviews

The exhibition has already been admired by more than 35,000 visitors and received rave reviews in both the national and international press. Visitors are also impressed: they have praised the show as a “breathtaking exhibition in a perfect setting” and expressed awe at Rembrandt’s early apprehension of light, reflection, perspective and detail.

Earliest known works

Rembrandt executed the four paintings at around the age of 18 while living in Leiden. In addition to the Spectacles Seller (Allegory of Sight) from Museum De Lakenhal’s own collection, the exhibition features three works from The Leiden Collection in New York: Stone Operation (Allegory of Touch),Three Musicians (Allegory of Hearing) and Unconscious Patient (Allegory of Smell).

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Spectacles Seller (Allegory of Sight), c. 1624-1625

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Unconscious Patient (Allegory of Smell), c. 1624-1625

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Three Musicians (Allegory of Hearing), c. 1624-1625

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Stone Operation (Allegory of Touch), c. 1624-1625

Paragon of experimentation

In this series, Rembrandt creates variations on a classical theme in the arts. Unlike his predecessors and peers who often portrayed the senses as personifications of elegant women with fixed attributes, Rembrandt chooses everyday scenes — including a pedlar trying to sell his wares, a visit to the doctor, and people coming together to sing.

Painted a stone’s throw away

Tanja Elstgeest, director of Museum De Lakenhal, is proud that Rembrandt’s early works will be on display at the museum for a prolonged period of time. “We are delighted to be able to share these precious works as a series with the public for longer, just a stone’s throw from where they were painted.”

Absolute pleasure

“It is an absolute pleasure to extend the loan of these three masterpieces to the Museum de Lakenhal,” said Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, Co-founder of The Leiden Collection with his wife Daphne Recanati Kaplan. “Reuniting these works in the very city where they were created some four centuries ago is incredibly meaning and powerful. Together, they foreshadow with remarkable insight Rembrandt’s genius as well as the techniques and interests that would inform his art for decades onwards — making him the single most consequential painter of his era and beyond.”

Festive anniversary year

The exhibition Rembrandt’s Four Senses – His First Paintings is part of a festive anniversary year celebrating the 150th anniversary of Museum De Lakenhal. Also on display until 21 July 2024 will be Kimsooja – Thread Roots, the first solo exhibition in the Netherlands of this internationally acclaimed artist. From 21 September 2024 to 2 March 2025, along with the city of Leiden, the museum will celebrate 450 years of freedom with the exhibition Leiden Celebrates – 450 Years of Parades.

Photo: Joep Jacobs