From 2 July to 2 October 2016 Marten & Oopjen take pride of place alongside The Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum. 

Rembrandt painted the marriage portraits of 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.

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.

The two portraits were purchased jointly by the Netherlands 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 all visitors to the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum in turn. Following their time on display, the paintings will undergo restoration at the Rijksmuseum.

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