|Museum Het Rembrandthuis|
1011 NK Amsterdam
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Around 1661 Rembrandt was commissioned to paint a group portrait of the
syndics or inspectors of the Clothmakers’ Guild. The five-man board met
in a building known as the Staalhof. Rembrandt completed the group
portrait in 1662. The painting was hung in the Staalhof in a room with
several other group portraits, all of them, however, dating from the
sixteenth century. The board was appointed on Good Friday every year.
The bare-headed man in the background is the guild’s servant.
X-rays have revealed that Rembrandt made all sorts of changes to the composition. The man standing second from the left, for example, was originally on the far left. A preliminary drawing of this standing figure has survived. He was most probably Volckert Jansz., a Mennonite cloth merchant who, like Rembrandt, had amassed a large collection of objets d’art, natural history specimens and rarities. It is interesting to note that Rembrandt was receiving important commissions only a few years after his bankruptcy. He was certainly not short of work. During this period he was also working on a major painting for Amsterdam town hall.
Rembrandt van Rijn, The Syndics of the Clothmakers’
Guild, signed and dated ‘Rembrandt f.
1662’, canvas, 191.5 x 279 cm,
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (Br. 415)