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

Hendrickje Stoffels

c. 1660
Oil on canvas, 78 x 69 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Catalogue number: Bredius 118.

Hendrickje Stoffels (1626-1663) was the daughter of an army sergeant. She advanced in Rembrandt's household from servant to mistress, presumed model, and common-law wife, as well as stepmother to the artist's son Titus (1641-1668) and mother of his daughter Cornelia (1654-1685). No indisputable image of her has been identified, although the present painting is considered a plausible example of the Hendrickje type. Hendrickje is thought to have modeled for three comparable paintings by Rembrandt, they are in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, in the National Gallery, London, and in the Staatliche Museen, Berlin. It appears likely that these images were intended to be understood as images of courtesans, comparable with those painted by Venetian artists, especially Palma Vecchio.