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Rembrandt in Focus: Rembrandt masterpiece on display at National Museum Cardiff

Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet on loan to Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales


From Wednesday 4 November 2009, a special loan of Rembrandt van Rijn's (1606-1669) Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet from Penrhyn Castle will be on show at National Museum Cardiff alongside original etchings and Netherlandish portraits from Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales's own collection.

Museum visitors will be given the opportunity to enjoy the Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet (1607-1685) for free until 21 March 2010, when it will return to Penrhyn Castle near Bangor - its home since the 1860s.

The portrait of the wealthy Amsterdam lady, painted in 1657, is an example of Rembrandt's outstanding talent for painting characters, not just faces. It demonstrates his ability to combine fine detail, blurred impressions and dramatic effects of light and shade.

During the 1650s, Rembrandt was the most celebrated artist in Amsterdam. Today, he's recognised as one of the most important figures in the history of art and his work continues to inspire artists across the globe.

Being able to display what is described as one of the most significant old master paintings in private hands in the UK is a special opportunity for Amgueddfa Cymru. Oliver Fairclough, Keeper of Art, who's proud to display this work at National Museum Cardiff said:

"There are very few privately owned paintings by Rembrandt in the UK, the Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet one of these. We are grateful to the Trustees of Penrhyn Settled Estates for allowing us to share this masterpiece, which is usually central to the displays at the Castle, with our visitors and are confident it will be a popular attraction."

Rembrandt was also a brilliant printmaker. Examples of his etchings, with which he experimented to achieve unprecedented tones and expressive effects, also form part of the Rembrandt in Focus display. These are joined by Netherlandish portraits of three other women including our painting of the Welsh heiress Katheryn of Berain, attributed to Van Cronenburgh.

Mr Fairclough continued: "Rembrandt in Focus will provide visitors with an insight into the range of works produced by the artist. The recent redevelopments at National Museum Cardiff allow us to be more flexible, making it possible for us to create a display of works from our own collections to complement the Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet loan."

First Minister, Rt Hon. Rhodri Morgan AM added:

"Having the opportunity to display the Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet is a real coup for National Museum Cardiff. Rembrandt is a towering figure in the history of art. Next to having the Mona Lisa on loan, I cannot think of any better ‘must see' attraction that we could possibly have in the National Museum. I know that many thousands will want to visit the Museum to enjoy the sight of this portrait in our national museum in our capital city. Don't miss it!"

Admission to National Museum Cardiff to view Rembrandt in Focus (3 November-21 March 2009) is free thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Amgueddfa Cymru operates seven national museums across Wales. These are National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.


For further information, images or interview opportunities, please contact Catrin Mears, Communications Officer on (029) 2057 3185/07920 027067 or email

Notes to Editors:

The other works from Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales's own collection which will be included in the display include:

Paintings - Portrait of a Lady, Frans Hals (attr.)

- Katheryn of Berain, Adriaen van Cronenburgh (attr.)

- Portrait of a Man, Sir Anthony van Dyck

- Portrait of a Man, Maerten van Heemskerck

- Portrait of a Woman, Maerten van Heemskerck


- Studies of the head of Saskia

- Rembrandt's mother seated at a table looking right

- Clement de Jonghe, printseller (5th state)

- Head of Saskia only

- Cottage with a white paling

- The Angel departing from the family of Tobias

- Rembrandt in velvet cap and plume, with an embroidered dress (later change to Self portrait drawing at a window)