‘Hang this piece in a strong light and where one can stand at a distance, so it will sparkle at its best.’ Rembrandt

LLW loves the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Not only is it a fabulous John Soane building to be seen in its own right, but it also houses a superb permanent collection stuffed full of priceless masterpieces. Canalettos, Rubens, Hogarths, Reynolds, Gainsboroughs – to name just a few. The Gallery also hosts some fabulous small exhibitions, not least the current little gem, ‘Rembrandt’s Light.’

Rembrandt van Rijn. Self Portrait 1642

The exhibition opened on 4th Oct 2019, on the anniversary of Rembrandt’s death, this is a charming and clever exhibition. The curators are so enthusiastic and knowledgeable, they have focussed on the way Rembrandt used light through 35 of his paintings, drawings and etchings. They have even brought in the leading cinematographer, Peter Suschitzky (of Star Wars fame!) to devise differing lighting in each room. Hence the mood changes throughout the exhibition from theatrical, to high-drama, to contemplative and spiritual.

Christ and St Mary Magdalen at the Tomb 1638

Highlights to us were the paintings and etchings displayed within his virtual – lit studio both during the day and night. Rembrandt uses light so cleverly. There is a stunning painting, ‘Christ and St Mary Magdalen at the Tomb,’ shown with light ebbing and flowing from it. The light is from within the painting rather than manipulated.

The Girl at the Window 1645

The final room houses some of his stunning masterpiece portraits. Apart from the very familiar self-portrait (see above), our favourite was the ‘Girl at the Window,’ a gorgeous painting owned by Dulwich in fact!

Verdict:

A small, but perfectly formed exhibition. A privilege to see so many Rembrandts in such a special place. It’s immersive, it’s clever, it’s innovative. The curators are clearly keen to appeal to perhaps a new and younger audience too this way (18-30s only pay £5 for the privilege). Must mention the really good (free) audio guide with carefully chosen music to match the moods. 4 Oct 2019 – 2 Feb 2020.

Dulwich is a lovely ‘Day Out’ summer or winter. LLW would urge you to go the Picture Gallery, see the Rembrandts, look around the permanent collection, have lunch or coffee at the cafe and have a wander around the delights of Dulwich Village. Enjoy!