rembrandt-flora
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669)
Olje på lerret, 100 x 91,8 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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Although pictures of Flora by Titian and other Italian artists ultimately inspired this work, Rembrandt rejects their idealizing approach by treating the goddess of Spring as an ordinary woman in fancy dress, with an expression betraying real experience. She seems to understand that flowers—emblematic of youth, beauty, and love—will fade away. The figure’s face and pose are based partly on a portrait of Rembrandt’s wife, Saskia, who died in 1642. While the paint surface is abraded, its quality is clear in the billowing folds of the blouse and the flower-filled apron.

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