Pupil of Rembrandt — The Holy Family at night

Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Inv. No. A 4119
  • Ernst Van De Wetering
Part of the Stichting Foundation Rembrandt Research Project book series (RRSE, volume 5)


Opinion over the authorship of this painting was long divided after Hamann rejected the attribution to Rembrandt in 1948 and suggested Nicolaes Maes as its possible maker.1 Since Bauch2 and Gerson3 in 1966 and 1968, respectively, followed Hamann and omitted the Holy Family at night from their catalogues of Rembrandt’s oeuvre, it has received scant attention in the art-historical literature: the painting is not included in more recent monographs on Rembrandt by Schwartz and Tümpel, and in his Gemälde der Rembrandtschüler Sumowski catal ogued it as an anonymous work from the school of Rem brandt.4 In 2006 Taco Dibbits gave a detailed account of the vicissitudes endured by this painting and the history of its reception.5 Al though we in no way doubt the painting’s dis attribution, it displays so many Rembrandtesque features that the question of its relationship with autograph work by Rembrandt justifies a separate entry.


British Museum Back Wall Paint Layer Paint Surface Cast Shadow 
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  1. 1.
    R. Hamann, Rembrandt, Potsdam 1948, p. 288; supported by Sumowski 1957/58, p. 225.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bauch 1966, p. 49.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    In Gerson 1968, the Holy Family at night is not included in the catalogue; in Br.-Gerson, p. 608, Gerson’s opinion that the painting is from Rembrandt’s workshop is further explained.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sumowski Gemälde IV, no. 1902.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    T. Dibbits, ‚Ooit Rembrandts „vermaarde schilderij“: de receptiegeschiedenis van Heilige Familie bij avond‘, Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum 54 (2006), no. 2, pp. 100–121.Google Scholar
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    On the working sequence, see Vol. I, Chapter II, pp. 11–33, esp. 25–31.Google Scholar
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  10. 11.
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  27. 29.
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  28. 30.
    W. Buchanan, Memoirs of painting, with a chronological history of the importation of pictures by the great masters into England since the French Revolution, London 1824, vol. I, p. 196.Google Scholar

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© Stichting Foundation Rembrandt Research Project 2011

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  • Ernst Van De Wetering

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