(Belga) The First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament (equivalent to the Belgian Senate) approved on Tuesday the purchase of the painting “Standard Bearer” by Rembrandt. The Dutch state will pay 150 million euros for this masterpiece while the Rembrandt Association and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will provide the remaining 25 million.
The agreement of the First Chamber makes the decision to purchase the 1636 painting final. Within four weeks, the Netherlands will officially own it, said Dutch State Secretary for Culture Gunay Uslu. However, this takeover from the Rothschild family was met with strong reluctance during discussions in the two chambers of the Dutch parliament. Several parties criticized the timing of the purchase as the cultural sector suffers from health measures. Opposition parties therefore found it unacceptable for the government to allocate 150 million euros for the purchase of a single work. The Dutch state secretary admitted that the sale could be badly perceived in times of a pandemic but considered that an opportunity which might not come again should not be missed. For Ms. Uslu, who previously worked as an art historian, this painting has a “unique style” and is a prelude to Rembrandt’s most famous painting “The Night Watch”. “It’s a turning point in his career,” she insisted. The Rothschild family had already wanted to sell the painting in 2019 but the French state had called it a “national treasure”, giving itself 30 months to buy the canvas back. It was only when France gave up that the Netherlands were able to take action. (Belga)