Saskia van Uylenburgh, the daughter of a burgomaster of Leeuwarden in Friesland, was Rembrandt’s first wife. Here, she is 23 years old; they have been married for a year. She is dressed as Flora, the Roman goddess of spring and fertility.
Her gorgeous gown is a 17th-century version of Renaissance dress and she carries an enormous bunch of spring flowers that includes tulips, roses, primulas and tiny pinks. More flowers decorate her neck and forehead. Pearls hang from her ears and peep from the crown of her head. Delicate green leaves wind round the stick in her other hand.
In their seven years of marriage, Saskia had four children. Only their son Titus survived. A year after he was born, Saskia died, so the ‘goddess of spring’ never reached the summer of her life.
Each partner will show Saskia in the context of their locality or collection.
Each year the National Gallery collaborates with three partners across the UK to display a masterpiece from the collection. The tour reflects the National Gallery’s commitment to ensuring its collection is shared and enjoyed, and enables audiences to access a masterpiece in their own locality.