Rembrandt? No, I don't recognize him!
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Jeroen Giltaij began his career as curator of prints in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen; this was during the period in which Mr. Ebbinge-Wubben was director. In 1978, the latter’s successor, Wim Beeren, appointed Giltaij curator of old art. He has held this position ever since. On 6 October 2010, Giltaij appeared in the Dutch television current affairs programme De Wereld Draait Door (DWDD), and publicly expressed doubts about the attribution of the painting Tobit and Anna to Rembrandt, which had been made by the internationally renowned expert Prof. Dr. Ernst van de Wetering. Giltaij has written a thesis about the contacts between the Italian collector Russo and Rembrandt and is currently preparing a publication about Titus, Rembrandt’s son.
The story of Tobit and Anna
Tobit is the name of an Apocryphal book that, in the Catholic Bible, is part of the Old Testament; Protestants consider it part of the Apocrypha. The book deals with Tobit, a blind man, his wife Anna and their son Tobias. It is also known under the name of the son and was probably written around 200 before Christ. In 1964, the American art historian Julius S. Held published his book ‘Rembrandt and the Book of Tobit’ . He observed that Rembrandt depicted this story more often than any other Bible story and tried to discover why. Held knew that Rembrandt’s father was blind and suggested that the artist may have identified himself with the son and his responsibility for his parents.
Willem van der Vorm Collection
Willem van der Vorm (1873-1957), Rotterdam harbour baron and art collector, was one of the most loyal benefactors of Museum Boymans. After his death, his collection was initially exhibited in his house on the Westersingel. But in 1972, the building had to make way for the metro and the Willem van der Vorm Foundation decided to offer the collection to the museum on perpetual loan. Initially, the works had to be exhibited independently of the museum collection; later, they were allowed to be shown in it. Since 1972, the Van der Vorm Collection has been enhanced, not least with the canvas Tour de César by Paul Cézanne.
The Unity of the Country
Rembrandt painted this oil sketch between 1637 and 1645, twenty years earlier than Tobit and Anna. It is probably a design for a large political print showing the City of Amsterdam being persuaded by the other cities in the province of Holland to postpone trade with Spain. The work came into the possession of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in 1865.
Titus at his desk
On 22 June 1634, Rembrandt married Saskia van Uylenburgh. They had four children; of these, Titus (1641) was the only one to survive. Saskia died when Titus was 1 year old. Rembrandt made this portrait of Titus in 1655, when the boy was 14. A year later, in 1656, Rembrandt went bankrupt as a result of his passion for collecting, his far too expensive house, and a lack of assignments. Titus, together with Rembrandt’s new girl friend Hendrickje Stoffels, started an art gallery. They formally employed Rembrandt, so that he could continue to paint without being bothered by creditors. It is probable that Titus also painted. In the end, Rembrandt had to bury Titus: he died in 1668 of the plague. Rembrandt died in 1669.
During the restoration, the old dark layer of varnish was removed so that the original colours were revealed. In some places, the paint had been wiped away during a previous treatment and the underlying still life could be seen through the depiction of Tobit and Anna. These bare patches were subsequently retouched, so that the still life was no longer visible. Finally, the painting was given a new layer of varnish. The restoration of Tobit and Anna was carried out by Annetje Boersma of Atelier Boersma, Rotterdam.
Barent Fabritius (1624-1673) was the younger brother of Carel Fabritius. Both were trained as carpenters by their father. Carel became a pupil of Rembrandt and Barent too began painting and fell under the influence of the great master (probably via Carel). In 1652 he married Catharine Mussers; the couple first lived in Midden-Beemster, but moved to Amsterdam in 1669, where Barent died in 1673 at the age of 49.
Dr. Jeroen Giltaij on Tobit and Anna Who exactly painted Tobit and Anna in the Willem van der Vorm Collection? The panel was subjected to scientific analysis in 2010, and the conclusion was that it originated in Rembrandt’s studio. But Jeroen Giltaij, curator of this museum, and Ernst van de Wetering, head researcher of the Rembrandt Research Project, do not agree on who actually wielded the brush. Giltaij bases his opinion on intuition and traditional connoisseurship; Van de Wetering approaches the issue with the probability theory of the scientist Thomas Bayes. In this video, Jeroen Giltaij explains why he believes that it must have been painted by an apprentice of Rembrandt and not by the master himself.From 24 March 2012, the cleaned and restored painting will be exhibited in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen; this video is part of the presentation.
Direction: Els Hoek
Camera: Ruben van de Broeke
Sound: Tim van de Broeke
Editing: Caroline Hoeberechts
Music: Ronald Kool
Mix: Michel van Schie