6.6 Rembrandt and his Circle
Rembrandt’s circle, in spite of regrettable losses, is quite well represented in Polish collections. There were some Rembrandt imports, especially of prints, as early as the 17th century, but interest in the art of the great Dutch painter really began with the collecting activity of the country’s last king.
Two important Rembrandts from Stanislaus Augustus’ ill-fated collection did return to Poland in 1994, as part of a generous donation by Professor Karolina Lanckorońska to the Royal Castle in Warsaw1 and to the Wawel Royal Castle in Kraków. These are: the Old Man at a Lectern (1641) and A Girl in a Hat, considered earlier as lost and now both recognised by Rembrandt scholars as the master’s autograph works [1-2].2 The Princes Czartoryski Museum possesses a magnificent work by Rembrandt, Landscape with the Good Samaritan, from 1638 .3 This work is all the more precious because it is one of only six landscapes that have been definitely attributed to Rembrandt.
Landscape with the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), dated 1638
panel (oak), oil paint 46,5 x 66 cm
lower right : Rembrandt f. 1638
Kraków, Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie
Scholar at his desk, dated 1641
panel (poplar), oil paint 105,7 x 76,4 cm
lower center : Rembrandt f. 1641
Warszawa, Zamek Królewski w Warszawie, inv./cat.nr. ZKW/3905
Rembrandt or circle of Rembrandt
Girl in a picture frame, dated 1641
panel (poplar), oil paint 105,5 x 76,3 cm
lower left : Rembrandt f/1641
Warszawa, Zamek Królewski w Warszawie, inv./cat.nr. ZKW/3906
Works by Rembrandt’s pupils are numerous in Polish collections. There is an Angel Appearing to Hagar in the Desert by Ferdinand Bol in Gdańsk , and a A Bearded Old Man with a Skullcap by Jan Lievens in Warsaw ; portraits by Jacob Adriaensz. Backer and Govaert Flinck  in Kraków and Warsaw.4 Worth mentioning are also Gerbrand van den Eeckhout’s paintings in the National Museum in Warsaw [7-8] and Jan Victors biblical compositions in this museum and in the Łazienki Palace [9-10], as well as Constantijn de Renesse’s Satyr Visiting Peasants .
An angel meets Hagar at the fountain on the way to Shur and persuades her to return (Genesis 16:7-14)
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Gdańsk, Muzeum Narodowe w Gdańsku
A bearded old man with a skullcap, c. 1629-1630
panel, oil paint 71 x 54 cm
center right : L.
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./cat.nr. M.Ob.562 (212295)
Portrait of a man with a walking stick and a tall hat in a landscape, first half of the 1640s
panel (oak), oil paint, tempera 92 x 69 cm
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./cat.nr. M.Ob.2584 MNW
Gerbrand van den Eeckhout
Jacob’s dream (Gn 28, 11–12), dated 1642
panel, oil paint 75,2 x 116,5 cm
lower right : G.v.eeckhout / 1642
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./cat.nr. M.Ob.28 MNW
Gerbrand van den Eeckhout
The Shunammite woman falls at Elisha's feet (2 Kings 4:37), dated 1649
canvas, oil paint 103 x 125 cm
lower left : G.v.eeckhout / A 1649
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./cat.nr. M.Ob.551 MNW
Esau selling his birthright to Jacob(Genesis 25:29-34), dated 1653
canvas, oil paint 109 x 137 cm
lower right : 1653
Warszawa, Muzeum Łazienki Królewskie w Warszawie, inv./cat.nr. LK928
Joseph's blood-stained coat is brought and shown to Jacob (Genesis 37:32-33), dated 1649
canvas, oil paint 97 x 112,7 cm
lower right : Jan. Victors: / 1649
Warszawa, Muzeum Łazienki Królewskie w Warszawie, inv./cat.nr. LK 927
Constantijn à Renesse
Satyr visiting peasants (Aesop, Fables, J. de La Fontaine, V, 7), dated 1653
canvas, oil paint 168 x 103 cm
upper left : C ...Ren... 1653
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./cat.nr. 184843 MNW
Gijsbert Jansz. Sibilla
Portrait of a young woman with a fan, dated 1650
panel, oil paint 75 x 60,5 cm
upper right : 1650
Sanok (Polen), Muzeum Historyczne w Sanoku, inv./cat.nr. L 59
There is a delightful, very Rembrandtesque Girl with a Fan by Gijsbert Sibilla in the Castle Museum in Sanok in south eastern Poland .5 By far the most valuable work in this group is an early composition by Carel Fabritius, The Raising of Lazarus , which was strongly influenced by Rembrandt’s famous painting in the Los Angeles County Museum and his early etching on this subject. In the scarce oeuvre of the most talented of Rembrandts’s disciples, this painting has an outstanding place.6
The raising of Lazarus, c. 1643
canvas, oil paint 210,5 x 140 cm
lower center : Car. Fabr.
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie
1 Juszczak/Małachowicz 1998.
2 Ziemba 1998; Ziemba 1999; Juszczak/Małachowicz 2013, cat. nos 262 and 263.
3 Rostworowski 1980; Dec/Wałek 2010, pp. 598–599.
4 Signed bust portraits by Jacob Adriaensz. Backer and Govaert Flinck: Winiewicz-Wolska 2001, cat. nos. 1 and 30; a restrained full–figure Portrait of a Man with a Walking Stick and a Tall Hat in a Landscape by Govaert Flinck: Ziemba 2012.
5 Benesz 2012.
6 Ziemba 1990; Duparc/Seelig/Van Suchtelen 2004, no. 1.