Jan van Scorel, c. 1530
Mary Magdalene is identified by her jar of ointment, which she used to anoint Jesus’ feet. Van Scorel painted her as a seductive, luxuriously dressed courtesan, a reference to her reputed past as a prostitute. Her clothing shows the influence of Italian painting, to which Van Scorel was introduced during his trip to Rome.
Children of the Sea
Jozef Israëls, 1872
This charming scene contains a message. The children of a fisherman, with their tattered rags and paltry toys, offer us a glimpse of their future. The eldest boy carries the weight of the family on his shoulders, and the little boat stands for the rigours of life at sea. Jozef Israëls first painted this subject in 1863. It became enormously popular and the artist subsequently repeated it often.
The Denial of St. Peter
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, 1660
In this nocturnal scene lit by a candle, Peter is recognized by soldiers as a disciple of Christ. He denies this, however, renouncing his master. Christ, in the murky right background, looks back at Peter, as he is led away by soldiers. Rembrandt had pupils in his workshop until the very last years of his life. Technical investigations have revealed that he was assisted in this painting.
Portrait of a Member of the Van der Mersch Family
Cornelis Troost, 1736
This portrait invites us to enter the room and enjoy art and music with this gentleman. Typical of the 18th century is the lack of distance between sitter and viewer: the likeness is not intimidating. We stand face to face with a cheerful young man, member of a wealthy Mennonite family from Amsterdam. The visit has caught him unawares: on his shoulder are traces of powder spilled while he powdered his wig.
Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia, c. 1447
The taste for delicate, subtly coloured scenes set against gold backgrounds lasted longer in Siena than in Florence. This work – remarkable for the dramatic isolation of the crucified Christ between his followers (at right) and his persecutors (at left) – was probably the middle in a series of predella panels of the Passion of Christ placed beneath a large altarpiece.