Portrait of a Lady with a Lap Dog


Art Gallery of Ontario

Art Gallery of Ontario
Toronto, Canada

Both as a teacher and a painter, Rembrandt dominated Dutch 17th-century art, even though his work increasingly departed from fashionable taste during the second half of his career. Although he painted many biblical subjects, which helped to create a new Protestant iconography, the majority of his pictures are portraits. For ten years after he settled in Amsterdam in 1631/32, the prosperous burgher class flocked to him for portraits painted in carefully detailed style. In contrast, many of his later, more penetrating portraits were not commissioned, being studies of his family or of his Jewish neighbours. The sitter of this late portrait has not been conclusively identified, although it has been suggested that she is Magdalena van Loo, Rembrandt's young daughter-in-law. Posed against a dark, indefinite background, a device Rembrandt used to great effect, the young, rather plain woman stares pensively into space. The introspection of her demeanor contrasts sharply with the outward splendor of her dress, which creates a deeply compelling yet enigmatic image.


  • Title: Portrait of a Lady with a Lap Dog
  • Creator Lifespan: 1606 - 1669
  • Creator Nationality: Dutch
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Date Created: c.1665
  • Physical Dimensions: w641 x h813 mm (overall)
  • Painter: Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn
  • Credit Line: Bequest of Frank P. Wood, 1955
  • Type: Unknown
  • Rights: © 2011 Art Gallery of Ontario. Bequest of Frank P. Wood, 1955
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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