High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Painting by Ferdinand Bol Donated to the Rembrandt House Museum
© Museum Het Rembrandthuis
© Museum Het Rembrandthuis © Museum Het Rembrandthuis

Painting by Ferdinand Bol Donated to the Rembrandt House Museum

The Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam has received an important donation: the painting Shepherdess in a Landscape by Ferdinand Bol, one of Rembrandt's most famous pupils. The painting was donated to the museum by the Hoogsteder family to support the museum during the current Covid pandemic.

Like many museums and cultural institutions in the Netherlands, the Rembrandt House Museum has suffered badly from the pandemic. Therefore, Willem Jan Hoogsteder — collector, art dealer, CODART Patron and member, and chairman of the Hoogsteder Museum Foundation — together with his wife Karin Hoogsteder decided to support the museum in a special way: with the donation of a work of art from their private collection.

According to Hoogsteder ‘the museum is the perfect place for this work by Ferdinand Bol, as it focuses on Rembrandt’s studio practice — how he trained his students and the exchange of styles between master and pupil. Shepherdess in a Landscape is an early work by Ferdinand Bol, in which he tried to surpass his teacher.’

Bol’s painting shows a pastoral scene in the fictional landscape of Arcadia. This wonderland full of shepherds and shepherdesses has been praised since ancient poets. In the early 1640s, Arcadian themes were in great demand, partly thanks to performances of pastoral plays. It is unclear if this painting refers to a specific play. It is also not known who the woman in the painting represents. In any case, this painting seems to have a general message: the dreamland here is set against the depraved court life, depicted by the palace in the background.

The donation will be displayed in the Sael, Rembrandt’s living and bedroom, when the Rembrandt House Museum reopens. In the same building, Ferdinand Bol was taught by Rembrandt in the seventeenth century.

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