Drawings by Rembrandt

Rembrandt’s drawings constitute a core part of the oeuvre of this incessantly creative and consistently experimental artist. Except for a small number of finished drawings that can be regarded as independent works of art, most of Rembrandt’s drawings are compositional sketches, works drawn from life or from memory and working drawings that were intended only for the eyes of the artist and his workshop. As a result, they offer a special insight into Rembrandt’s artistic process and unmatched talent.

New research techniques

Recent technological developments in digital imaging and scientific analysis have stimulated the Rijksmuseum and other major institutions to apply new techniques to the drawings of Rembrandt and his pupils. Combining new insights into the material characteristics of drawings and their changes over time with the art historical implications of these discoveries greatly enriches our knowledge of one of the most important artists of all time.

The symposium

With this symposium, scheduled to take advantage of progress made during research and exhibitions held in 2019 on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the artist’s death, the organizers aim to stimulate the exchange of ideas between different disciplines. We believe in the benefits of shared knowledge, bridging professions such as (art)history, material-technical research, digital imaging and conservation. The symposium will be open to art historians, curators, paper conservators, art technologists and all professionals interested in the study and preservation of drawings by Rembrandt and his school.

Preliminary programme

Thursday 6 February
Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, Auditorium
Lectures: Covering a wide range of topics by experts from the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin, the Klassik Stiftung in Weimar, the RCE and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, including revelations about the creative process of drawings made by Rembrandt, the drawing materials and equipment used, the original appearance of iron-gall ink, the composition of the opaque white Rembrandt used in his drawings, and archival research into storage conditions, preservation and exhibition history of Rembrandt drawings in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Thursday evening 6 February
Amsterdam: Museum Het Rembrandthuis, Zuiderkerk
Evening reception: During the evening reception, the Museum Het Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam will open its doors to the exhibition ‘Rembrandt Laboratory’ exclusively for the participants of the symposium. This exhibition reveals the newest insights into research on Rembrandt’s paintings, prints and drawings.

Friday 7 February
Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum and RCE
Lectures: Former head of the Rijksprentenkabinet Peter Schatborn and current head of the Rijksprentenkabinet Jane Turner will speak about their research on drawings by Rembrandt.

Interdisciplinary discussions, workshops and guided tours: Topics include: Novel techniques for watermark identification, new interactive tools for the study of drawings, advanced technical imaging techniques applied to Rembrandts drawings, Rembrandt’s drawing materials, macro XRF imaging of drawings, and paper making in the Netherlands in the 17th century.

You can download the workshops information here

Organized by

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) and Museum Het Rembrandthuis