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Saskia van Uylenburgh in Arcadian Costume

Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

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Saskia van Uylenburgh, the daughter of a burgomaster of Leeuwarden in Friesland, was Rembrandt’s first wife. Here, she is 23 years old; they have been married for a year. She is dressed as Flora, the Roman goddess of spring and fertility.

Her gorgeous gown is a seventeenth-century version of Renaissance dress and she carries an enormous bunch of spring flowers that includes tulips, roses, primulas and tiny pinks. More flowers decorate her neck and forehead. Pearls hang from her ears and peep from the crown of her head. Delicate green leaves wind round the stick in her other hand.

In their seven years of marriage, Saskia had four children. Only their son Titus survived. A year after he was born, Saskia died, so the ‘goddess of spring’ never reached the summer of her life.

The National Gallery, London

London

Title

Saskia van Uylenburgh in Arcadian Costume

Date

1635

Medium

oil on canvas

Measurements

H 123.5 x W 97.5 cm

Accession number

NG4930

Acquisition method

bought with contributions from The Art Fund, 1938

Work type

Painting

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The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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