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'Marten & Oopjen' in the Rijksmuseum for the first time

May 17, 2016

See Marten & Oopjen Free on Saturday 2 July at the Rijksmuseum

Rembrandt painted the marriage portraits of the newlyweds Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit in Amsterdam in 1634, when he was twenty-eight. The portraits, more than two metres high, remained in private hands for almost four centuries. Early this year the two portraits were bought together by Holland and France, a unique event. From 2 July to 2 October 2016 Marten & Oopjen will have a place of honour alongside The Night Watch. The paintings will then be restored in the Rijksmuseum’s conservation workshop.

Wim Pijbes: ‘What no one thought possible is now reality: the most wanted and least exhibited Rembrandts in the world, in the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum in turn, in the public domain and within everyone’s reach.’

Jet Bussemaker, Minister of Education, Culture and Science: ‘I’m delighted because the paintings are now finally in public hands. They belong to us all, and everyone, young and old, can enjoy them. I would say – go and see them!’

Free from 9am to 9pm

The Rijksmuseum is opening its doors from 9am to 9pm to welcome Marten & Oopjen to Holland and give everyone a chance to admire these masterpieces. This free day has been made possible by the support of main sponsor ING.

Marten & Oopjen Magazine for all Primary Schools

To celebrate this extraordinary acquisition, the Rijksmuseum is giving a Marten & Oopjen Magazine as a present to all primary school children in years 6 and 7. The magazine, written by children’s book author Jan Paul Schutten, is made possible by the Henry M. Holterman Fund/Rijksmuseum Fund.

Historical Research

Who exactly were Marten and Oopjen? Jonathan Bikker, Rijksmuseum curator, carried out extensive research into the two portraits by Rembrandt. Among other things, he established the subject’s name is Marten and not Maerten, as was always assumed. All his findings have been published in Two Monumental Portraits by Rembrandt; 52 pages; Dutch and English editions. On sale in the Rijksmuseum shop for €15.

Background information

Marten Soolmans & Oopjen Coppit by Rembrandt

Rembrandt painted the marriage portraits of the newlyweds Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit in Amsterdam in 1634 when he was twenty-eight. The meticulous rendering of the opulent costumes, the vitality of the figures and the subtle use of light in these paintings place them among his greatest masterpieces. The portraits are also a milestone in Dutch history, marking the rise of the ambitious young Dutch Republic in the Golden Age. The fact that these two citizens of Amsterdam posed for their portraits in regal style, wearing the most magnificent outfits in the latest French fashion, says much about their pride and affluence and about the emergence and pretensions of the young republic. Until then life-sized portraits of people standing were the prerogative of monarchs and the nobility. They were Rembrandt’s first life-sized, full-length painted pendant portraits – and the only ones he would ever make.

European Purchase

The two portraits were purchased jointly by Holland and France for €160 million at the end of January 2016. Thanks to this joint purchase the masterpieces are now in the public domain and can be seen by everyone in the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum in turn.

In the last century and a half the two portraits have only been seen once by the public in Holland: in 1956 in the Rijksmuseum. From 10 March to 13 June 2016 they are being exhibited in the Louvre amid great public interest and from 2 July they can be seen in the Rijksmuseum for three months. On 2 October the portraits will be removed to the Rijksmuseum’s conservation workshop for restoration. They will then be shown in the Rijksmuseum for three months, followed by three months in the Louvre. After that they will be on display in the Rijksmuseum for five years and then five years in the Louvre. Thereafter they will be exhibited in the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre alternately for eight years at a time. The two museums have agreed that the paintings will always be shown together.

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