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Shades of Mughal in Rembrandt

india Updated: Nov 15, 2006 14:06 IST
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Four years after the French made a splash with Pablo Picasso originals at the National Museum in New Delhi, the Dutch will spring a bigger surprise at the same venue on December 16 with Rembrandt van Rijn.

The 17th century painter (1606-1669) was long perceived as having a wholly “European” identity. But it has now been discovered that he owned several Mughal miniatures and had actually been influenced by them.

Says JH Schutte, head of cultural affairs at the Dutch embassy, “The most conspicuous examples of this influence are apparently in his drawings, after the style of Indian miniatures from the time of Jahangir and Shah Jahan which he must have collected.

Rembrandt went bankrupt, and in an inventory of his possessions an album ‘full of curious miniature drawings of East Indian manikins’ is mentioned.”

Since 2006 is the painter’s 400th birth anniversary, the Netherlands has commemorated it with exhibitions and events at home and abroad, although famous paintings like ‘The Nightwatch’ will not leave the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam since they are part of the Dutch events.

India will get to see about 15 reproductions of Rembrandt’s works. But the main event will be the public lecture by Dr Taco Dibbits, an expert on Rembrandt from the Rijksmuseum.

Says Schutte, “We are keen to know what Dr Dibbits will reveal about the influence of Mughal art on Rembrandt’s work, because this establishes an artistic link between India and one of Europe’s greatest Old Masters.”

Email: renukanarayanan@hindustantimes.com

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