Ernst van de Wetering

Last updated

Ernst van de Wetering (born 9 March 1938, Hengelo) [1] is a Dutch art historian [2] and an expert on Rembrandt and his work.

Hengelo Municipality in Overijssel, Netherlands

Hengelo is a city in the eastern part of the Netherlands, in the province of Overijssel. The city lies along the motorways A1/E30 and A35 and it has a station for the international Amsterdam – Hannover – Berlin service.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

Rembrandt 17th-century Dutch painter and printmaker

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch draughtsman, painter and printmaker. An innovative and prolific master in three media, he is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history. Unlike most Dutch masters of the 17th century, Rembrandt's works depict a wide range of style and subject matter, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, biblical and mythological themes as well as animal studies. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age, when Dutch art, although in many ways antithetical to the Baroque style that dominated Europe, was extremely prolific and innovative, and gave rise to important new genres. Like many artists of the Dutch Golden Age, such as Jan Vermeer of Delft, Rembrandt was also an avid art collector and dealer.



Ernst van de Wetering was first trained as an artist at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. He received his doctorate in art history from the University of Amsterdam. Since 1968, he has been a member, and is now chairman, of the Rembrandt Research Project. He was art historian on the staff of Amsterdam's Central Research Laboratory for Restoration from 1969 to 1987 and, since 1987, has been full professor of history of art at the University of Amsterdam. He has published extensively on historic painting techniques, as well as in the field of theory and ethics of conservation and restoration.

Royal Academy of Art, The Hague Dutch art academy in The Hague

The Royal Academy of Art is an leading and highly renowned art academy in The Hague. Succeeding the Haagsche Teeken-Academie, the academy was founded on 29 September 1682, making it the oldest in the Netherlands and one of the oldest in the world. It has been training ground for a number of significant artists of the Hague School and it was part of the art movement of Dutch Impressionism and was also in the immediate vicinity of the II. Golden Age of Dutch painting. However, in the 19th century the training for a long time was still strongly oriented towards the classic curriculum. At the end of the 19th century this academy had opened to Modernism, too.

The Hague City and municipality in South Holland, Netherlands

The Hague is a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland. It is also the seat of government of the Netherlands.

University of Amsterdam university in Amsterdam

The University of Amsterdam is a public university located in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The UvA is one of two large, publicly funded research universities in the city, the other being the VU University Amsterdam (VU). Established in 1632 by municipal authorities and later renamed for the city of Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam is the third-oldest university in the Netherlands. It is one of the largest research universities in Europe with 31,186 students, 4,794 staff, 1,340 PhD students and an annual budget of €600 million. It is the largest university in the Netherlands by enrollment. The main campus is located in central Amsterdam, with a few faculties located in adjacent boroughs. The university is organised into seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Science, Law, Medicine, and Dentistry.

In 1990, he succeeded Josua Bruyn as chair of the Rembrandt Research Project, the team of scholars that is charged with tracking down Rembrandt's works, authenticating them and, when needed, conserving the paintings. As of 2015, the project has published six volumes on Rembrandt's work, the known Rembrandts, and the techniques used by the painter.

Assessment of Rembrandt

In most of his writing and lectures, Van de Wetering portrays Rembrandt as a painter who struggled to create as many marketable paintings as possible, and whose studio turned out a large number of paintings with varying amounts of work by Rembrandt and his apprentices. He was also able to discover a number of Rembrandt's works which had been repainted by the artist to make them more commercially acceptable.

In 2006, in celebration of Rembrandt's 400th birthday, Van de Wetering was quoted by the Associate Press saying: "My hope for the Rembrandt year would be that somehow we would become free of images, that we look with fresh eyes. So much research has been done, and so little of this research has come to the knowledge of the general public."

Studies of artists' use of light

Van de Wetering is the voice of dissent when it comes to the significance of light in Dutch 17th-century painting. He doubts that it was a factor at all and says there were as many kinds of light as there were ways of painting. It was not a question of light, he adds, but of a painter's methods and style. He has also written several academic papers debunking the myth that Claude Monet painted only with natural light.

Claude Monet French painter

Oscar-Claude Monet was a French painter, a founder of French Impressionist painting and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein air landscape painting. The term "Impressionism" is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant, which was exhibited in 1874 in the first of the independent exhibitions mounted by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon de Paris.


In 2003, Van de Wetering was presented with the Heritage Preservation/College Art Association Joint Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation at Oxford University, where he has been a frequent guest lecturer.

He was Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford for 2002–03. [3]

The Slade Professorship of Fine Art is the oldest professorship of art at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and London.

Related Research Articles

Jozef Israëls Dutch painter

Jozef Israëls was a Dutch painter. He was a leading member of the group of landscape painters referred to as the Hague School and, during his lifetime, "the most respected Dutch artist of the second half of the nineteenth century".

Hendrickje Stoffels partner of Rembrandt van Rijn

Hendrickje Stoffels was the longtime partner of Rembrandt. The couple were unable to marry because of the financial settlement linked to the will of Rembrandt's deceased wife Saskia, but they remained together until Hendrickje's death. In 1654 she gave birth to Rembrandt's daughter Cornelia. In the later years of their relationship Hendrickje managed Rembrandt's business affairs together with the painter's son Titus.

Rembrandt Research Project Project to research Rembrandt works using forensic methods and building a database

The Rembrandt Research Project (RRP) is an initiative of the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO), which is the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Its purpose is to organize and categorize research on Rembrandt, with the aim of discovering new facts about this Dutch Golden Age painter and his studio. The project was started in 1968, but has since become the authority on Rembrandt and has final say in whether a painting is genuine.

<i>Self-Portrait</i> (Rembrandt, Vienna) painting by Rembrandt, 1652, Vienne

Self Portrait is an oil on canvas painting by the Dutch artist Rembrandt. Painted in 1652, it is one of over 40 painted self-portraits by Rembrandt, and was the first he had painted since 1645. In composition it is different from his previous self-portraits, depicting the painter in a direct frontal pose, hands on his hips, and with an air of self-confidence. It was painted the year that his financial difficulties began, and breaks with the sumptuous finery he had worn in previous self-portraits. Art historian Christopher White has called it "one of the most magisterial and sombre of these (late) pictures". It is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

<i>Self-Portrait with Two Circles</i> painting by Rembrandt, 1665, Kenwood House

Self-Portrait with Two Circles is an oil on canvas painting by the Dutch artist Rembrandt, painted c. 1665–1669, one of over 40 painted self-portraits by Rembrandt.

<i>Self-Portrait with Beret and Turned-Up Collar</i> painting by Rembrandt, 1659, Washington

Self-Portrait with Beret and Turned-Up Collar is a 1659 oil on canvas painting by the Dutch artist Rembrandt, one of over 40 self-portraits by Rembrandt. It has been noted as a self-portrayal of subtle and somber qualities, a work in which may be seen "the stresses and strains of a life compounded of creative triumphs and personal and financial reverses". Once owned by Andrew W. Mellon, it has been in the National Gallery of Art since 1937.

<i>Philosopher in Meditation</i> painting by Rembrandt

Philosopher in Meditation is the traditional title of an oil painting in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, that has long been attributed to the 17th-century Dutch artist Rembrandt.

Self-portraits by Rembrandt Wikimedia list article

The dozens of self-portraits by Rembrandt were an important part of his oeuvre. Rembrandt created approaching one hundred self-portraits including over forty paintings, thirty-one etchings and about seven drawings; some remain uncertain as to the identity of either the subject or the artist, or the definition of a portrait.

Horst Gerson German-Dutch art historian

Horst Gerson (1907–1978) was a German-Dutch art historian.

<i>Self-Portrait Wearing a White Feathered Bonnet</i> painting by Rembrandt, 1635, Buckland Abbey

Self-portrait wearing a white feathered bonnet is an oil painting attributed to the Dutch painter Rembrandt. It is signed and dated 1635. It was traditionally regarded as a Rembrandt self-portrait until 1968, when it was rejected on stylistic grounds in the Rembrandt catalogue raisonné by Horst Gerson. On 18 March 2013 it was re-attributed to the master by Ernst van de Wetering. It is one of over 40 painted self-portraits by Rembrandt.

<i>A Polish Nobleman</i> painting by Rembrandt

A Polish Nobleman is a 1637 painting by Rembrandt depicting a man in a costume of Polish szlachta (nobility). The identity of the subject of the painting is unclear, and has given rise to several different interpretations. The view that the figure's dress is clearly Polish is not universally held and it may have been a self-portrait.

<i>The Descent from the Cross</i> (Rembrandt, 1634) 1634 painting by Rembrandt

Descent from the Cross (1634), by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, is one of his many religious scenes. The piece is oil on canvas and now located in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. The piece is intriguing stylistically in its unique figural composition and variety of lighting effects. Aside from composition, the painting is notable in terms of its historical context, from the connection between its subject matter and Rembrandt's family situation to its endangered location during World War II.

<i>Portrait of Dirck van Os</i> painting by Rembrandt

The Portrait of Dirck van Os is a later painting by Rembrandt (1606-1669), created circa 1658. It is currently in the permanent collection of the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska.

Bob Haak was a Dutch art expert known mostly as one of the founders of the Rembrandt Research Project.

Lucretia (Rembrandt, 1664) painting by Rembrandt, 1664

Lucretia is a 1664 history painting historically attributed to the Dutch Golden Age painter Rembrandt in the collection of the National Gallery of Art. In 2015, Ernst van de Wetering of the Rembrandt Research Project said that "the formal properties and execution of [this] painting, I am convinced, exclude the possibility that it could be an autograph work by Rembrandt", and that the painting recalls Aert de Gelder. The painting is not included in the project's 2015 Rembrandt corpus.

The Girl in a Picture Frame painting by Rembrandt

The Girl in a Picture Frame is a 1641 oil on panel painting by the Dutch artist Rembrandt. It is also known as The Jewish Bride and The Girl in a Hat. With The Scholar at the Lectern and Landscape with the Good Samaritan, it is one of only three Rembrandt paintings in Polish collections. It is currently located at the Royal Castle in Warsaw.

<i>Head of Christ</i> (Rembrandt, Louvre Abu Dhabi) Painting by Rembrandt van Rijn

Head of Christ is a circa 1648 painting by Rembrandt or his workshop. It shows Christ with a beard and long dark hair. It is in the collection of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.


  1. Prof. dr. E. van de Wetering, 1938 - at the University of Amsterdam Album Academicum website
  2. "Rembrandt, peintre modèle". Libé 22 June 2011.
  3. "Oxford Slade Professors, 1870–present" (PDF). University of Oxford. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
YouTube video-sharing service owned by Google

YouTube is an American video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California. Three former PayPal employees—Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim—created the service in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for US$1.65 billion; YouTube now operates as one of Google's subsidiaries.