Cornelis Claesz Anslo was a rich Amsterdam shipowner and cloth merchant, and also a respected Mennonite preacher. He moved into a new house with his family in 1641, and commissioned the double portrait with his wife Aeltje Schouten on this occasion. The fact that the figures are seen slightly from above, and that the vanishing point is therefore relatively low, indicates that the picture was originally intended to be hung high. The fur trimming on the couple’s clothes and the handkerchief are signs of prosperity and wealth. However, a key concern was to present Anslo in his function as a preacher. His mouth is slightly open, he is pointing to the open book with the left hand, and turning to his wife, who is inclining her head a little, as a sign that she is paying attention. The essential elements of this scene, the book, faces and hands, are emphasized by the handling of light, while the remainder is plunged into monumental chiaroscuro. This impressive representation of speaking and listening is vivid evidence of the Reformation’s view that the word is superior to the image. A specific reference to the admonition specific to the Mennonites (based on Matthew 18, 15-20) is provided by the wick-trimmer that can be seen behind the candle. According to Picinello this symbolizes the “correctio fraterna”, the brotherly admonition “that frees the soul from the clinging slime of confusion as the wick-trimmer the candles from the dripping wax”. The fact that the subjects are presented in situations typical to their activity gives this double portrait its direct and lively effect. Rembrandt’s approach to this genre went well beyond the presentational forms current at the time.