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Rembrandt van Rijn
(Dutch, 1606 - 1669)

Lucretia, 1666
H.43-3/8 x W.36-1/3 in. overall
oil on canvas

Inscriptions: SIGNATURE and DATE

According to the Roman historian Livy, Lucretia, the wife of a Roman nobleman, was known for her virtue and loyalty. Sextus Tarquinius, the son of the ruling tyrant, raped her while her husband was away. The next day Lucretia told her husband and father what had happened and, in their presence, took her own life, choosing death over dishonor. No artist before Rembrandt told the story quite like this. He portrayed a poignant moment: Lucretia's profound sadness after she stabbed herself. Using a close vantage point, Rembrandt depicted the blood seeping from her wound, the tears filling her eyes.

Rembrandt painted this work late in his career, using a variety of techniques. In places he applied the colors thickly with a palette knife; elsewhere he painted more thinly with a brush, creating dramatic contrasts of light and dark. The shadows on Lucretia's face, for instance, accentuate her tragic expression. By expertly manipulating paint and glazes, Rembrandt created the illusion of light emanating from Lucretia's inner soul.

Index terms:
oil paintings

Detroit (1930), No. 77, illus.

Chicago, Rembrandt and His Circle, (1936), No. 8, illus.

Worcester (1936), No. 10, illus.

Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art, The Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition, (1936), No.178.

Chicago, Great Dutch Masters, (1942), No. 34, illus.

St. Louis, City Art Museum, Forty Masterpieces, (1947) p. 98, illus.

Los Angeles (1947), No. XXXI, illus.

New York, Wildenstein & Co., (1950), No. 28, illus.

Buffalo, New York, Albright Art Gallery, Painters' Painters, (1954), No. 9, illus.

Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Fortieth Anniversary Exhibition of Forty Masterpieces, (1955), No. 8

Rotterdam/Amsterdam, (1956), No. 98.

New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Paintings and Sculpture from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, (1957), No. 4, illus.

Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Rembrandt After Three Hundred Years, (1969); subsequently The Minneapolis Institute of Arts (1969-1970), and The Detroit Institute of Arts (1970), No. 21, illus. p. 107.

Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art, Rembrandt's Lucretias, 22 Sept. 1991 - 5 Jan. 1992; Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 18 Jan. - 3 May 1992.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
No. 34.19
The William Hood Dunwoody Fund
Permission for educational use only granted by The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Radziwill Collection (according to Hofstede de Groot, VI, 1916, No. 220a)

Sale, John Calvert Wombwell, London (Christie's), June 4, 1853, No. 8)

Sale, William W. Bourdon, Newcastle on Tyne, London (Christie's) June 28, 1862, No. 137. (bought in)

J. Purvis Carter, London and Villa Torrigiani, Quinto, Florence (after 1877)

Henry Reinhardt & Co., New York (ca. 1926)

Herschel V. Jones, Minneapolis (ca. 1927)

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