Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Promise of Youth: Rembrandt’s Senses Rediscovered

May  11–August 28, 2016 
J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum is exhibiting three of  Rembrandt’s earliest known paintings,  lent by  the  Leiden Collection in New York, in a special installation highlighting the recentlyrediscovered  

 The  Unconscious Patient (An Allegory of  the Sense of  Smell),  1624 .  

 One of a series by  Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (Dutch, 1606 –1669) depicting the five senses,  The Unconscious Patient,  the artist’s earliest  monogrammed signed painting, will be exhibited with  two others from the series— Hearing  and  Touch —as  well as other early Rembrandts.  

“Rembrandt is unquestionably one of the  greatest and most -loved painters of the European tradition, whose work still grips modern audiences as  strongly as it did his own contemporaries,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum.  

 “This special installation provides a unique  opportunity to witness him at the genesis of his  career, some four hundred years ago, as a young man  of only eighteen or nineteen just beginning on his professional career. While it is not yet the  Rembrandt we know from his maturity, these works already demonstrate his experimental approach and show some of the emotional intensity that was to be an enduring features of his  work.  It is particularly appropriate to be bringing these works together for the first time at the  Getty Museum, as we possesses the most significant collection of early Rembrandts in the  United States. Complemented by other loans from Thomas Kaplan and Daphne Recanati - Kaplan’s  Leiden Collection, this presentation represents a remarkable visual survey of the development of the artist. We, and other museums, are deeply grateful for Tom  and Daphne’s continuing generosity in making his works accessible to a broader public.”

Until last year, only three of the five Senses  were known to art historians.

The exhibition will feature The Sense of Smell along with 

The Three Musicians (An Allegory of The Sense of Hearing)  about 1624, Rembrandt Harmensz van  Rijn  (Dutch, 1606 – 1669)  Oil on Panel.  Image  Courtesy of the Leiden Collection, New York. 

The  Stone  Operation  (Allegory of the Sense of Touch) about 1624,  Rembrandt  Harmensz van  Rijn  (Dutch, 1606 –1669) Oil on Panel. Image  Courtesy of the Leiden Collection, New York.

A fourth known picture from the set,  

The Spectacle Seller (An Allegory of  The Sense of Sight), is in the collection of the  Lakenhal Museum in Leiden. The whereabouts of the fifth sense, an allegoryof taste, remains unknown.

 “Rembrandt’s ability to convey emotions  and create a compelling narrative on a small scale is  fully evident in these fascinating and important  paintings,”  says Anne Woollett, curator of paintings  at the Getty Museum. “Viewing these works with  other important early paintings, including the Getty’s self -portrait  

Rembrandt Laughing (1628) 

and An Old Man in Military Costume  (about 1630 –31), 

shows Rembrandt’s desire to capture a range of  human emotions and ages in paint, and how rapidly he developed in only a few short years. Thanks to the generosity of the Leiden Collection, the Senses allow us to trace this remarkable trajectory.”

In autumn 2015, The Sense of Smell surfaced at an auction in the United States. It has since entered the Leiden Collection, the private collection and gallery of Thomas S. Kaplan in  New York that was already home to its sister pictures: The Sense of Hearing and The Sense of  Touch.  

Recently, The Sense of Smell was on view at TEFAF Maastricht where it caused a stir  and commanded a great deal of attention.  Two other Rembrandts from the Leiden Collection,   

Portrait of a Girl Wearing a Gold -Trimmed Cloak (1632) 

and  Portrait of a Rabbi (about 1640 –45), 

among other Dutch seventeenth -century paintings, have been at  the Getty Museum on long-term loan and will be  shown in conjunction with the Senses.   

It is likely that Rembrandt painted the Senses in his hometown of Leiden in about 1624  to 1625, following his training with Jacob van Swanenburg (1571 –1638) and prior to six months  in Amsterdam studying with the illustrious hi story painter Pieter Lastman (1583 –1633). The  Senses attest to Rembrandt’s close relationship with his friendly rival in Leiden, Jan Lievens  (1607 –1674), whose 

Card Players(1623 –24), 

also from the Leiden Collection, will be included in  this special installation. 

After being exhibited  at the Getty Museum, the Senses as well as Rembrandt’s Portrait of a Girl Wearing a Gold -Trimmed Cloak and Portrait of a Rabbi will be exhibited internationally.