One of the most impressive element in the photograph accompanying yesterday's post remains the collar donned by model Vivienne Lynn. If you are into exaggerated, extravagant or simply striking collars, you should look for inspirations in a museum. Some of the most amazing collars were indeed featured in paintings from around the 1600s. One example? Head to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam where, alongside "The Night Watch" by Rembrandt, you will be able to admire (until 2nd October) the Marten and Oopjen portraits.
Rembrandt's portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit (both dating 1634) were owned by the Rothschild banking family that acquired them in 1878. Last year the former was acquired by the Dutch State for the Rijksmuseum; the latter was instead bought by the French Republic for the Musée du Louvre. They were exhibited at the Louvre until June, and they are currently in Amsterdam. In three months' time they will be sent to the Rijksmuseum's conservation workshop where they are going to be restored. From then on they will enjoy a double residency - three months in each museum and then five years – and they will always be shown together.
Rembrandt painted these full-length marriage portraits when he was twenty-eight: previously this type of portrait was only popular in courtly circles, but around 1600 they became quite fashionable among wealthy citizens in Holland.
Marten and Oopjen married in June 1633, they were young, rich and had a bright future (Marten died prematurely, though, and Oopjen later on remarried).
The paintings seem to match - the floor extends through in both paintings, while the curtains hanging to the right behind the man seem to continue in the woman's portrait.
Both sitters are placed in evocative settings, surrounded by carefully painted objects, gilded elements and precious fabrics; both wear splendidly rendered sumptuous black costumes in the latest French fashion.
Soolmans is depicted holding a glove in his left hand, there is a great sense of dynamism in his folded arm with one hand on his hip, mainly given by the way the fabric of the sleeve falls on his arm and by the ribbed texture of his jacket. Soolmans also wears extraordinary rosettes on his shoes that show his pasison for French trends.
Coppit (in the painting she was pregnant) holds an ostrich feather fan and wears a four-row pearl necklace among other expensive jewellery including a gold ring with diamonds and a ring with a black stone on her right forefinger; her milky complexion is emphasized by a fabric beauty mark on her left temple (such marks were called "mooches"), while the black veil covering her head is meant to protect her delicate skin from the sun.
Both wear luxuriously ample white lace collars and lace accessories such as cuffs characterised by a gauze-like consistency. Through their clothes they symbolize the ambitions of the Dutch Republic in the Golden Age and visitors who would like to learn more about those times should check out the special route traced through Amsterdam to discover more about Rembrandt, Marten and Oopjen, their backgrounds, families and lives.
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