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Rembrandt, Portrait of Frederick Rihel on Horseback

Key facts
Full title Portrait of Frederick Rihel on Horseback
Artist Rembrandt
Artist dates 1606 - 1669
Date made about 1663
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 294.5 × 241 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought with a special grant and contributions from the Art Fund and The Pilgrim Trust, 1959
Inventory number NG6300
Location Room 22
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of Frederick Rihel on Horseback

This is one of the largest paintings ever made by Rembrandt, and one of only two life-size equestrian portraits of ordinary citizens in the history of Dutch art. The rider has been identified as the prosperous businessman Frederik Rihel. His bright yellow jerkin, fancy gloves, shimmering sleeves and plumed hat stand out radiantly against the rather gloomy, sketchy background.

Despite the gloom, it’s possible to make out parts of a procession winding around a stretch of water behind Rihel. On the left is the facade of one of the gates to the city of Amsterdam, and in front of this is a coach with a bright red and yellow interior carrying three passengers. In the right background there are two (or possibly three) riders on horseback. This probably represents the procession accompanying the entry of Prince William of Orange into Amsterdam in 1660, in which Rihel participated as one the Amsterdam Guard of Honour.

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