Netherlands to Purchase Iconic Rembrandt Self-Portrait With €175 Million From Public and Private Funds

The government of Netherlands announced on Dec. 8 that it plans to purchase an iconic self-portrait by 17th Century Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn with €175 million ($198 million) from public and private funds.

According to a statement from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Dutch government sent a proposal to the House of Representatives to amend the budge of the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science to buy the Rembrandt’s 1636 painting, “The Standard Bearer.” 

The government will set aside €150 Million ($170 million) to make the purchase for its national collection.

The Rembrandt Association will also contribute €15 million ($17 million) while the Rijksmuseum Fund will contribute €10 million ($11 million) for the purchase for a total of €175 million ($198 million).

The government said that it decided to make the purchase after France, which has declared the painting a national treasure, waived its right to buy the painting and allowed a sale in the open market.

The painting, which is seen as hugely significant to Dutch culture and history, has been owned by private collectors, including a French branch of the Rothschild family since 1844.

The large painting depicts Rembrandt in the costume of a standard bearer “looking rebellious and full of bravado,” Rijksmuseum said.

Standard bearers were in the front line in the Eighty Years’ War, which led to the independence of Netherlands in 1648.

If the Dutch government successfully purchases the painting, it will tour Netherlands before going in public display in the Rijksmuseum’s Gallery of Honor.

“After hundreds of years, the work will now be in public hands, so everyone can enjoy this painting of enormous cultural and historical significance. After a journey of centuries, the ‘Standard Bearer’ is now returning home for good,” Culture Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven said.


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