The Patronage of Rembrandt's Passion Series: Art, Politics, and Princely Display at the Court of Orange in the Seventeenth Century

Tucker, Rebecca
April 2010
Seventeenth Century;Spring2010, Vol. 25 Issue 1, p75
Academic Journal
Rembrandt's Passion Series was the artist's most extensive commission and his most prestigious public work. Created for an aristocratic patron, Prince Frederik Hendrik of Orange-Nassau, the series contained seven paintings produced between 1633 and 1646. Scholarship on these paintings has focused on the artist, his letters on the series, and the inscrutable iconography of the paintings. In this article, the series is addressed through the lens of patronage and reception, within the context of a court commission. This study examines archival and documentary evidence to identify the original location of the Passion Series at the court of Orange. It further reconstructs that visual and built environment, providing a framework within which the series operated. Finally, the article discusses how enhanced knowledge of the series' patronage and location illuminates the function of the images, focusing in particular on how the images meshed with the political and religious agenda of the leader of the Dutch Republic.


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