A drawing of a woman sitting up in bed behind a pullback curtain, cradling her tightly swaddled child. She gazes directly out to the viewer.
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606-1669), Saskia Sitting Up In Bed Holding A Child, circa 1635, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld

Saskia Sitting Up In Bed, Holding a Child

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn

Rembrandt’s first wife Saskia Uylenburgh (1612-1642) often modelled for him, appearing in the guise of goddess or queen, as well as humbler figures. However, in this intimate and seemingly spontaneous portrait, she appears as herself: a young mother. Sitting up in bed, cradling her tightly swaddled child, Saskia appears from behind a curtain which partially shadows her softly modelled face, itself framed by the lines of the headdress and knotted ribbon around her neck. Her direct gaze would originally have addressed Rembrandt himself as he was sketching them. The couple married in 1633 and had four children, but only one, Titus, born the year before his mother died, lived beyond infancy.  

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Two men sit across from each other at a table covered with a brown tablecloth, playing cards. Both men wear overcoats and hats, and the man on the left smokes a pipe. They sit inside a wooden building. i Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) The Card Players, around 1892-96, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)

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