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20 March 2008
Butterfield Bank arranges showing of rare Rembrandt painting at Bermuda National Gallery
Portrait of a Bearded Man in a Red Doublet, Rembrandt van Rijn (c. 1633)

Butterfield Bank, working in partnership with the Bermuda National Gallery (BNG), is proud to announce the exclusive exhibition of a rare work by Rembrandt for two weeks; 22 March through 4 April (including Easter Saturday).


The painting, Portrait of a Bearded Man in a Red Doublet (1633) is considered among the finest examples of the Dutch master’s portraits and was produced during Rembrandt’s first years in Amsterdam when he was one of the most sought-after portrait painters in Europe.


According to various sources, the identity of the man in the painting, which was discovered in 1930 in a private collection in England, is unknown. This is not unusual, but the costume that he wears is very different from the black attire usually worn by Rembrandt's Amsterdam patrons. It is believed that the red doublet with braid fastenings has military significance. The collar is also unusual in that it is plain without the standard elaborate lace trimming. . Speculation by experts is that the sitter could have been a foreign soldier residing in The Hague at the time.


Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-69) is considered by many to be the greatest artist of the Dutch School. He was a master of light and shadow with paintings characterised by exquisite brushwork and rich colour. His numerous portraits and self-portraits exhibit a profound understanding of the character of his subjects.


Butterfield Bank has arranged for the painting to be loaned to the BNG for this special exhibit. Alan Thompson, President & CEO of the Bank said, “Supporting the arts is a key part of our community focus.  We are extremely pleased that we’ve been able to arrange for a limited-time exhibition of this important and rarely seen work.  Having an original work from a 17th century European master shown in Bermuda is very exciting and we hope the whole community takes the opportunity to visit the National Gallery for this once-in-a lifetime opportunity.”


BNG chairman Gary Phillips said: “We, the trustees of the Bermuda National Gallery, are delighted to be able to work with Butterfield Bank to present this extraordinary original work of art by one of the great European masters. It is consistent with the museum’s mission to bring the world of art to Bermuda and we hope to be able to display more great works at the BNG in the coming months and years.”


"Bringing a painting of this rarity to Bermuda is a complex and highly sensitive operation. We are extremely grateful to Butterfield Bank whose foresight and focus on promoting the arts in our community resulted in this wonderful exhibition.   The Gallery wishes also to acknowledge the co-operation of the Bermuda Government, through the Ministry of Finance and the office of the Collector of Customs and her staff, along with the staff and advisers of the Gallery who have helped make this exhibit possible.”




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