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Exhibition of Rembrandt’s Later Works Opens in London

An exhibition of Rembrandt's later works revealing the energy and innovation of the Dutch master opened in the National Gallery in London on Wednesday.

MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) - An exhibition of Rembrandt's later works revealing the energy and innovation of the Dutch master opened in the National Gallery in London on Wednesday.

"Exhibitions on this scale are held not so often. As for Rembrandt, it is the first exploration into the final period of his work. We are so much grateful to the museums that took part in organizing the exhibition. A special thanks to the Royal Swedish Academy for presenting one of the Rembrandt’s most ambitious painting which at the same time was one of his major failures due to its shocking pencil. 'The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis' has left Stockholm only three times, so we are very much honored by the Academy," said Nicholas Penny, director of the National Gallery.

"Rembrandt: The Late Works" features about 40 paintings, 20 drawings and 30 prints loaned from collections around the world and provides the first in-depth look into the final stage of the painter’s career. The exhibition has been curated in cooperation with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, one of the primary exhibitors of his works.

All of the works shown are dated to the period from 1650 to Rembrandt’s death in 1669.

"During this later phase he seems to get regenerated and re-energised, and becomes much more productive in his ideas of what he wants to explore and what he thought was most important as an artist to try to communicate to people," said curator Betsy Weiseman as quoted by AFP.

After declaring bankruptcy in 1656, Rembrandt spent several years of his life in poverty. He also suffered personally from the death of his lover in 1663 and his son in 1668. However, this period became one of his most productive. Rembrandt continued to experiment with technique, using light to change the dynamics of paintings.

"The exhibition shows the variable essence of Rembrandt’s works: paintings, drawings and prints are arranged thematically. It provides a deeper understanding of the ideas touching the artist in the closing stages of his life," Weiseman said.

The exhibition begins with a series of self-portraits, introducing visitors to the artist and showing off his brilliant techniques of using of light and shadow, as well as his honesty in recording his own slow aging process.

Aftewards, the exhibition explores how Rembrandt pushed the boundaries of convention by depicting the most profound human emotions and thoughts.

"He was always pushing the envelope and trying to take things a bit further," the curator said.

According to Wieseman, the key works of the exhibition are "The Syndics", a group portrait of drapers, and "Jewish Bride", depicting intense emotions of a loving couple.

Some of Rembrandt’s works were far ahead of their time, such as the sketch "Young Woman Sleeping".

Moreover, Rembrandt pushed the boundaries of tradition, such as in "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Joan Deyman" and "The Conspiracy of the Batavians".

The last painting in the exhibition is the well known as "Simeon with the Christ Child in the Temple" and it gives an idea of how the artist brought to life Biblical figures.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell and it runs to January 18, 2015. Then it will be open in the Rijksmuseum from February 12 to May 17.

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