Rembrandt’s Titus in a Monk’s Habit
February 1, 2020
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669) painted his teenage son in the guise of a monk at a crucial moment in his late career when he was revamping his business as a painter and recovering from bankruptcy. While this painting has been infrequently seen in America, it exemplifies the dramatic use of light and dark to express human emotion for which Rembrandt’s late works are especially prized.
Titus, born in 1641, was the fourth and only surviving child of Rembrandt and his first wife Saskia who soon died. Within a few years, Rembrandt’s family life turned destitute and hard. In the painting, Titus is draped in a dark brown hooded cloak, his eyes downcast, his face bathed in light. It is a superb example of a visual expression of quietness, tranquil meditation, musing recollection—a portrayal of a whole cluster of human emotional tones. On view in the Baroque gallery, this loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam gives visitors a rare opportunity to experience a late portrait by the Dutch master.
Image: Rembrandt van Rijn, Titus in a Monk’s Habit, 1660. Oil on canvas. Loan from the Rijksmuseum. Purchased with the support of the Vereniging Rembrandt, 1933; formerly Stroganoff Collection, St Petersburg.