BERLIN - An extensive exhibition of Rembrandt's paintings, drawings and etchings, juxtaposed with works by the Dutch master's students, opens Friday in a unique show that attempts to explore the genius behind one of the world's best known baroque artists.
The exhibition includes 277 works by Rembrandt von Rijn and his various understudies. Organized by the Berlin museums and Rembrandt House in Amsterdam, the exhibition is part of international celebrations marking the artist's 400th birthday.
Scattered throughout the show, housed in the Museum of Old Master Paintings and the Museum of Prints and Drawings, are dozens of key works from Rembrandt's students. They are there to provide a point of comparison with the works of the master and to highlight his work as a teacher.
"We wondered why you were always supposed to separate the master Rembrandt and his students," said Peter-Klaus Schuster, general director of the Museum of Old Master Paintings. "Only when they are displayed together you're able to see who the master really is."
The exhibition reflects a major update on knowledge about the artist's pictures, as a result of efforts by the Rembrandt Research Project, which has spent decades trying to verify the authenticity of works attributed to the Dutch master.
For example, of the Museum of Prints and Drawings' original 126 works attributed to Rembrandts, only 55 have been proven to stem from his hand, while the others are believed to have been done by his students.
The works are split up into three sections, devoted to each of his various disciplines - painting, drawing and prints. Most of them depict groups of people or individuals, a key element of Rembrandt's work.
"Rembrandt was mostly interested in painting people. How they laugh, how they cry. He painted life, so to speak," Schuster said.
One of the highlights of the exhibit is Rembrandt's painting, "Girl in a Picture Frame," which spent years in a private collection and was only recently donated to a Warsaw's Royal Castle collection.
The painting shows a girl leaning on a picture frame and wearing a large, black beret and a red dress.
"She has an exotic look and a mysterious presence," Schuster said. "I think that this girl will be the star of this show."
The exhibition runs through Nov. 5 and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday, and until 10 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is $19.00.