REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn
(b. 1606, Leiden, d. 1669, Amsterdam)

Titus Reading Aloud

1656
Oil on canvas, 71 x 64 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Titus was the son of Saskia van Uylenburgh and Rembrandt. Of the three children born previously to them, one died at two months, the others at two weeks. Titus lived but the mother died when he was nine months old.

Although Titus was trained as an artist, presumably by Rembrandt, this is not the way his father depicted him. Rather, he shows him engaged in writing, reading and speaking. In the present painting, in which Titus is engrossed in a book he grasps in his two hands, his expression is so lively, his mouth open, with a bit of smile on his face, that he seem to be reading aloud, a rare and intriguing subject. The painting shows Titus, born in 1641, at the age of about 15.