Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age

Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age

Jul 31, 2016Aug 30, 2018
Hermitage Amsterdam, Amstel 51 1001 GR
€17,50 - €25 (includes audio tour)

Portrait Gallery of the Golden Agea semi-permanent exhibition of 17th century group portraits, has been extended due to its great success. It has already been visited by 400.000 visitors!

Dutch nobility painted in group settings

This exhibition is massive, both literally and figuratively. It was put together by three cultural powerhouses, the Amsterdam Museum, Rijksmuseum and Hermitage. The 30 group portraits chosen for the exhibition are so-called "brothers and sisters" of Rembrandt's Night Watch, as they are similar in stature and subject. 

Probably the best known of its style, the Night Watch is actually just one example of a popular trend in the 17th century guilds, regents, militias and civil associations in the Dutch Republic of having group portraits made of members to hang on the walls of their meeting houses. 

More than just aesthetically impressive, the paintings give insight into just how different Dutch society was during this time, lacking a centralised royal family, church or authoritarian figures that were prominent in the rest of Europe.  Instead, the paintings feature those who ruled: the bourgeoisie. At a time when trade was booming and riches were flowing in, the Dutch managed to remain a republic. 

Large portraits in the Hermitage

Just moving the portraits into the Hermitage was a monumental effort. Due to their size, including one measuring 3 by 6 metres, many paintings had to be lowered by a crane into the Herenvleugel hall through the roof.

The 30 portraits have never been in the same exhibition together, and the effect of seeing them for the first time is astounding. As visitors enter the wing, they are confronted with nearly lifesize representations of groups of nobility that seem to stare back at them.  Truly a treat, the exhibition is well worth a visit to look directly into the eyes of Dutch history through some of its most influential historical figures.

New: Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson

Now on view in Portraits of the Golden Age is the famous painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Deijman, painted by Rembrandt. Two anatomy cabinets were added to the exhibition, placing The Anatomy Lesson in the context of the traditional Dutch group portrait from the 17th century for the first time.


Buy a combination ticket and gain access to both the Hermitage and Portraits of the Golden Age at a discount.

Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy - The osteology lesson of Dr. Sebastiaen Egbertsz, 1619, 135 x 186 cm. Collection Amsterdam Museum. dutch golden age portrait gallery

Arent Arentsz genaamd Cabel - Winter scene on the IJ in front of Amsterdam; ca. 1620-23, 52,5 x 99 cm. Collection Amsterdam Museum.

Thumb: Jan Tengnagel - Officers and other civic guards from the company of captain Geurt Dircksz van Beuningen and lieutenant Pieter Martensz Hoeffijser, 1618, 155 x 264 cm, Collection Rijksmuseum.
portrait gallery dutch golden age