Rembrandt and the Jews of Holland

Ever since the 1580s after the Act of Abjuration was issued and Philip II of Spain was deposed, increasing numbers of Jews found their way back to what became the Dutch Republic.

January 24, 2019 13:21
Rembrandt and the Jews of Holland

A painting in the Joodse Historische Museum of the Esnoga Synagogue, painted in the 18th century showing the affluence of the Jews at the time. (photo credit: ROBERT HERSOWITZ)


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Was Rembrandt van Rijn a Jewish convert and what kind of relationship did he have with his Jewish neighbors in Amsterdam? These are questions that have been asked by art historians for the past 200 years and form the subject of conferences and exhibitions throughout the world. 2019 marks the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death. The Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam will be mounting a series of exhibitions to mark the occasion. According to research from the last century, almost a third of the artist’s works had a Jewish connection either because they portrayed Jews or depicted scenes in which Jewish models were used. Rembrandt’s house, now a museum still stands on the Jodenbreestraat (Jewish Broad Street), a stone’s throw from the famous Esnoga Spanish Portuguese Synagogue.


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