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

Cupid with the Soap Bubble

Oil on canvas, 75 x 93 cm
Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna

Catalogue number: Bredius 470.

This painting is based on a character from mythology, but it has a vanitas aspect too. Traditionally the bubble stands as a symbol for the transience of life. The winged god of love was often accompanied in the seventeenth century by various symbols of mortality. Rembrandt's version avoids banality because of its high artistic quality and expressiveness. The infant's face turns innocently towards us, making us forget the duplicity of the game. Cupid lights the flame of love, yet stands ready to extinguish it again.

This typical early work by Rembrandt is signed and dated bottom right: Rembrandt/f:. 1634.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.