Louvre Abu Dhabi has acquired a rare oil sketch—Head of a young man, with clasped hands: Study of the figure of Christ, ca. 1648–56—by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), one of the most celebrated artists of the Dutch Golden Age. Painted on oak panel in the Dutch Republic (now the Netherlands) and identified as the Master’s work in the 1930s, it belongs to a series of oil sketches referred to as Rembrandt’s Face of Jesus group. Head of a young man was purchased by Louvre Abu Dhabi in December.

Rembrandt’s Face of Jesus. Photo by Ismail Noor

This masterpiece is the first work by Rembrandt known to have been acquired for a public collection in the Gulf region. It appeared recently in exhibitions at the Musée du Louvre, Paris; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Detroit Institute of Art; and Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam. It will make its first appearance at Louvre Abu Dhabi in the exhibition Rembrandt, Vermeer & the Dutch Golden Age: Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection and the Musée du Louvre before joining Louvre Abu Dhabi’s permanent collection.

Rembrandt, Self-Portrait with Shaded Eyes

Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first 2019 international exhibition, Rembrandt, Vermeer & the Dutch Golden Age: Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection and the Musée du Louvre, will bring together paintings and drawings by Dutch masters Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer and their contemporaries. Opening on 14 February 2019, the exhibition will survey Rembrandt’s artistic journey in Leiden and Amsterdam and his relationships with rivals and peers, including Johannes Vermeer, Jan Lievens, Ferdinand Bol, Carel Fabritius, Gerrit Dou, Frans van Mieris and Frans Hals. The exhibition runs from 14 February to 18 May 2019.

Rembrandt, Bust of a Bearded Old Man

During the Golden Age, the Dutch Republic established itself as a world leader in trade, science, and the arts. Set against this backdrop of cultural exchange, exploration and discovery, the show will explore the artistic traditions that flourished in Leiden and the wider Netherlands in this period, including the development of a new school of artists, called the fijnschilders (fine painters), best known for their exquisitely rendered scenes of daily life.

Jan Lievens, Boy in a Cape and Turban

The exhibition will feature 22 paintings and drawings from across Rembrandt’s career and his workshop – from his early famed series of allegorical paintings of the senses, which demonstrate the artist’s youthful ingenuity and experimentation with expressions, composition and colour during his Leiden days, to later works created in Amsterdam, including sensitively-rendered portraits, a renowned self-portrait, Self-Portrait with Shaded Eyes and Minerva in Her Study (both from The Leiden Collection), his monumental history painting of the goddess Minerva. These works are displayed alongside paintings by other masters from Rembrandt’s artistic circle, demonstrating the influence that this remarkable group of artists had on each other’s work.

Johannes Vermeer, The Lacemaker

On this extraordinary occasion, Johannes Vermeer’s Young Woman Seated at a Virginal (The Leiden Collection) and The Lacemaker (Musée du Louvre), two paintings on canvas cut from the same bolt, will hang beside one another for the first time in 300 years at Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Johannes Vermeer, Young Woman Seated at a Virginal

95 artworks, including paintings, drawings and objects, primarily drawn from The Leiden Collection, one of the largest and most significant private collections of artworks from the Dutch Golden Age, highlighted with the Musée du Louvre exceptional collections. Loans from the Rijksmuseum and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France will complete the presentation. On view until 18 May 2019, the exhibition is curated by Blaise Ducos, Chief Curator of Dutch and Flemish paintings at the Musée du Louvre, and Lara Yeager-Crasselt, Curator of The Leiden Collection and a specialist in seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish art.

Cornelis van Bellekin, Nautilus shell

Entrance to the exhibition is free with the museum ticket. Children under 13 enter the museum free. Visitors can tour the exhibition through a multimedia guide that is available in Arabic, English, and French. For more information on the exhibition or ticket bookings, please visit Louvre Abu Dhabi or call at 600 56 55 66.

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