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

A Peddler Selling Spectacles (The Allegory of Sight)

c. 1624
Oil on oak panel, 21 x 18 cm
Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden

Not in Bredius.

This is Rembrandt's earliest known painting, dating from the period when he was apprenticed to the best master in Leiden, Jacob Isaacsz. van Swanenburgh. It belongs too a series illustrating the Five Senses. This had been a popular theme since the sixteenth century, and Rembrandt would have come across many related engravings. However, he did not follow the costumary allegorical format, but painted a genre piece, spiced with a dash of humour, using models from his immediate surroundings. Even at this early stage, his sensitive depiction of reality was evident.

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