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Rembrandt, Saskia van Uylenburgh in Arcadian Costume

Key facts
Full title Saskia van Uylenburgh in Arcadian Costume
Artist Rembrandt
Artist dates 1606 - 1669
Date made 1635
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 123.5 × 97.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought with contributions from the Art Fund, 1938
Inventory number NG4930
Location Room 22
Collection Main Collection
Saskia van Uylenburgh in Arcadian Costume

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 seventeenth-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.

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