Major Rembrandt portrait painting on loan to the Wadsworth

1 February 2020 — 30 April 2020
600 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103, USA Hartford (CT)

Rembrandt’s Titus in a Monk’s Habit (1660) is coming to Hartford, Connecticut. On loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the painting will be on view at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art from February 1 through April 30, 2020. Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), recognized as one of the most important artists of his time and considered by many to be one of the greatest painters in European history, painted his teenage son in the guise of a monk at a crucial moment in his late career when he was revamping his business as a painter and recovering from bankruptcy. It has been fifty-three years since this painting has been on view in the United States making this a rare opportunity for visitors to experience a late portrait by the Dutch master among the collection of Baroque art at the Wadsworth renowned for its standout paintings by Rembrandt’s southern European contemporaries, Zurbarán, Oratio Gentileschi, and Caravaggio. While this painting has been infrequently seen in America, it exemplifies the dramatic use of light and dark to express human emotion for which Rembrandt’s late works are especially prized.

“Titus in a Monk’s Habit is an important painting. It opens questions about the artist’s career, his use of traditional subjects, and the bold technique that has won him enduring fame,” says Oliver Tostmann, Susan Morse Hilles Curator of European Art at the Wadsworth. “With his son in the role of a poor monk, it is a heart-wrenching interpretation of the human condition and an echo of the family’s humbled economic state.” Titus, born in 1641, was the fourth and only surviving child of Rembrandt and his first wife Saskia who soon died. Within a few years, Rembrandt’s family life turned destitute and hard. In the painting, Titus is draped in a dark brown hooded cloak, his eyes downcast, his face bathed in light. It is a superb example of a visual expression of quietness, tranquil meditation, musing recollection—a portrayal of a whole cluster of human emotional tones.

Rembrandt’s path to becoming an acclaimed painter began at the young age of fourteen when he entered the workshop of Jacob Isaacszoon van Swanenburgh in Leiden. By 1631 he moved to Amsterdam to the home of art merchant Hendrick Uylenburgh where he becomes famous for his portrait paintings, eventually gaining much praise by his contemporaries for his interpretations of biblical stories with emotional qualities. At this time, Rembrandt also met Uylenburgh’s cousin Saskia, who he married a few years later. At the height of his success Rembrandt borrowed heavily to purchase a large fashionable townhouse filled with art and books creating a debt that would later figure in his financial problems. In the months after Titus was born Saskia died, probably of tuberculosis, and a period of monetary and personal struggles began for the artist.

In 1660 when Titus in a Monk’s Habit was painted, Rembrandt was living with his long-time lover and companion Hendrickje Stoffels, their daughter Cornelia (b. 1654), and Titus in a modest rented property in a tough neighborhood in Amsterdam. It was at this time that Hendrickje and Titus set up a business with Rembrandt as the sole employee to shield him from his creditors; from this art shop Hendrickje and Titus sold Rembrandt’s works.

"Amsterdam and Naples have long been understood as the two dominant urban centers of the early 1600s. Welcoming this icon of Rembrandt’s later career to New England is a major opportunity to experience his work amid one of the great Baroque collections in North America" Thomas J. Loughman, director and CEO of the Wadsworth

Related Programs

February 6, 2020, Reception and Lecture

Rembrandt: Observation and Introspection

Christopher Atkins, Director of the Center for Netherlandish Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, explains Rembrandt’s powerful observational techniques in the context of the painting Titus in a Monk’s Habit, on loan to the Wadsworth from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

March 27, 2020, 1pm, Gallery Talk

Curator Oliver Tostmann discusses Rembrandt’s beautiful, intimate portrait of his son, Titus in a Monk’s Habit (1660), on loan to the Wadsworth from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

March 27 and 28, 2020, 2pm, Film


Every Rembrandt exhibition is eagerly anticipated, but Rembrandt: The Late Works on view at the National Gallery in London and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in 2014 and 2015, was an event like no other. Given exclusive, privileged access to both galleries, the film documents this landmark exhibition while interweaving Rembrandt’s life story with behind-the-scenes preparations at these world-famous institutions. Preceded on both days by a 1pm gallery talk, free with film admission.

March 28, 2020, 1pm, Gallery Talk

Experience Rembrandt’s painting Titus in a Monk’s Habit (1660), on loan to the Wadsworth from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, with Janna Israel, Adult and Academic Programs Manager.

About the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Founded in 1842 with a vision for infusing art into the American experience, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is home to a collection of nearly 50,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years and encompassing European art from antiquity through contemporary as well as American art from the 1600s to today. The Wadsworth Atheneum’s five connected buildings—representing architectural styles including Gothic Revival, modern International Style, and 1960s Brutalism—are located at 600 Main Street in Hartford, Conn. Hours: Wednesday–Friday: 11am–5pm; Saturday and Sunday: 10am–5pm Admission: $5–15; discounts for members, students and seniors. Free admission for Hartford residents with Wadsworth Welcome registration. Free “happy hour” admission 4–5pm. Public phone: (860) 278-2670; website:

Image: Rembrandt van Rijn, Titus in a Monk’s Habit, 1660. Oil on canvas. Loan from the Rijksmuseum. Purchased with the support of the Vereniging Rembrandt, 1933; formerly Stroganoff Collection, St Petersburg.