The Senate approved the purchase of painting on Tuesday evening The Standard Bearer. The cabinet is allocating 150 million euros for the self-portrait of Rembrandt, the other 25 million will be paid by the Rijksmuseum and the Rembrandt Association. The House of Representatives has already voted in favour. Now that the Senate also approves, the purchase is final.
The work was owned by the French Rothschild banking family. According to State Secretary Gunay Uslu (Culture, D66), the Netherlands will be the official owner within four weeks. The work is touring the Netherlands, eventually being displayed in the Hall of Fame of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
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The acquisition of the painting was much discussed and certainly not without controversy. Critics found it unjust to pay millions for a painting at a time when the art and culture sector is suffering heavily from the corona restrictions. Left-wing opposition parties wanted the cabinet to release the same amount for self-employed people in the sector, but that proposal did not find a majority in Parliament.
The previous culture minister Ingrid van Engelshoven called the moment of purchase “extremely unfortunate”. Her successor Uslu also stated that she understood the prevailing discomfort. Despite this, she praised the “unique style” and argued that such opportunities do not often arise in the art market. Initially, the Rothschild family asked 165 million for the work, but the final purchase amount is higher, according to the Rijksmuseum, because of “price inflation”.
The Standard Bearer (1636) is known as an important self-portrait of Rembrandt. At the age of thirty he painted himself in a historical costume. It was one of the last paintings by Rembrandt that was still in private possession. The Rijksmuseum owns with The Standard Bearer 23 of the 340 surviving paintings by Rembrandt. According to the museum itself, this is the largest collection worldwide.