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Rembrandt at the National Gallery in London

Rembrandt, A Woman Bathing in a Stream, 1654, oil on oak board, 24 3/8 × 18 1/2". © The National Gallery, London.

“REMBRANDT: THE LATE WORKS” offered a splendid chance to consider the possibilities of painting. With the exception of some early works, Rembrandt’s painting seems to me to be remarkably all of a piece. Did he have a late style as Titian and Picasso are said to have had? Despite its subtitle, this exhibition in fact included works from the last third of Rembrandt’s life (the 1650s to 1669). “The Mature Works” might have been the truer subtitle. He did not swerve from his course despite the fact that he suffered bankruptcy (1656), rejection by the town hall (1662), and death (his common-law wife, Hendrickje Stoffels, in 1663, his son Titus in 1668).

Descending the stairs to the basement of the National Gallery in London, one entered small, dark rooms. Not a bad approximation (surely unintended) of interiors in Holland in the seventeenth century. Aside from forays out to draw

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