Mauritshuis Acquires Painting by Rembrandt’s Most Influential Teacher
Pieter Lastman: St John the Baptist Preaching (1627)
The Mauritshuis has for many years had an engaging and high-quality painting by Pieter Lastman (1583-1633), Rembrandt’s most influential teacher, on its wish list. This dream has now been fulfilled with the acquisition of St John the Baptist Preaching of 1627. The painting was purchased from an American owner by the Friends of the Mauritshuis Foundation with the support of a private donor.
Pieter Lastman, Amsterdam 1583-1633 Amsterdam, St John the Baptist Preaching, 1627, Panel, 60 x 92 cm, The Hague, Mauritshuis, Acquired by the Friends of the Mauritshuis with the support of H. B. Van der Ven, 2018
Emilie Gordenker, Director Mauritshuis: ‘The timing of the acquisition of this painting by Lastman, at the beginning of a national Rembrandt Year, is ideal. We have been on the lookout for an outstanding example of Lastman’s work, due to the impact he had on the young Rembrandt. We are extremely grateful to everyone who made our wish come true, especially the private donor and the Friends of the Mauritshuis.’
In his day the Amsterdam artist Pieter Lastman was one of the leading painters of history paintings (works that depict stories from the Bible, classical mythology and antiquity). History paintings were then considered the pinnacle of what a painter could achieve, and to acquire this skill Rembrandt became Pieter Lastman’s pupil in 1625-1626. Although Lastman who was Rembrandt’s teacher for only six months, had a great influence on his pupil’s development. This acquisition fills a gap in the Mauritshuis collection: although history paintings from the Dutch Golden Age are well represented, the same could not be said for the work of Lastman and the painters in his circle (the so-called pre-Rembrandtists).