Great Art : Rembrant

Article text
Portrait of Margaretha de Geer, Wife of Jacob Trip (1661) By Rembrandt.

This somber and imposing portrait, dating from the last decade of Rembrandt's life, depicts Margaretha de Geer, wife of the wealthy Dordrecht merchant Jacob Trip. Margaretha is portrayed with great honesty. She confronts the viewer directly and her age shows clearly in her hands and face. Not untypical for a woman of her generation and age she wears old-fashioned clothes: the large ruff had been fashionable forty years earlier, in the 1620s. When I first saw this painting in the National Gallery in London I was awe struck. It is perhaps not as well known as some of the other paintings Rembrandt produced in his life but for me the subject is masterful. The soul and life of this woman is laid out on canvas for all to see.