Press Releases

Rembrandt masterpiece goes on display at National Museum Cardiff

From today (5 April 2016), Rembrandt van Rijn’s Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet (1607-1685) will be shown at National Museum Cardiff for a period of three years.

The 17th-century portrait of a wealthy, independent, 50 year-old woman from Amsterdam was housed at Penrhyn Castle in North Wales until last year, when a private collector bought the work through Sotheby’s auction house.


It has now been offered to National Museum Cardiff as a long-term loan and will be shown at the city centre national museum in its historic art galleries. The Museum will also benefit from a donation of £10k from the previous owner of the painting, to fund an educational programme.


The work was painted by one of the most outstanding figures in the history of art. It is one of Rembrandt’s best portraits, and indeed one of the finest examples of his work in Britain.


Rembrandt, through his work, had the ability to portray people as real human beings with character and emotion. Portraiture before his time was about status rather than personality. He painted with an honesty which revealed true individuals with immense sensitivity and insight.


The sitter herself was part of the Mennonite religious community in Amsterdam, but her parrot, which is portrayed in the work, and fine clothing reveal unconventional attitudes. She was unusual for her time in the fact that although she was married to a Mennonite preacher, they lived separately. Therefore, she must have been strongly independent, to sustain such an unconventional living arrangement, both in character and financially.


David Anderson, Director General, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales said:


“This is a very special work of art, which has great meaning and importance for Wales’ heritage. The painting came to Wales in the 1860s and is an example, not only of money, but of the cultural wealth generated by the great industrial age in Wales.


“I am delighted it will be made publicly accessible, and deservedly so, so that it can contribute to our understanding of our past and be enjoyed by today’s visitors.”


The owner of the painting added:


“I am very happy to be able to share the enjoyment of this great painting with the public by lending it to the National Museum of Wales.” 


The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates said:


“I am pleased to welcome this important piece of art back to Wales. This is a fantastic addition to the displays at the National Museum and I am particularly pleased that it is supported with funding for an educational programme, which I hope will extend its reach and spark a further interest in art.”


Entry to National Museum Cardiff is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Government.


National Museum Cardiff’s exhibition and activity programme has been supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.


Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales operates seven museums across Wales including National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans National History Museum, the National Roman Legion Museum, Big Pit National Coal Museum, the National Wool Museum, the National Slate Museum and the National Waterfront Museum.




For further information, please contact:


Catrin Taylor

029 2057 3185

07920 027067