Dutch gov't kicks in €80 million to buy two Rembrandts for Rijksmuseum

Brother and Sister of the Night Watch
Rembrandt portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit (Pictures: Wikimedia Commons/artyzm.com/www.wga.hu)Rembrandt portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit (Pictures: Wikimedia Commons/artyzm.com/www.wga.hu)

The government has given the Rijksmuseum 80 million euros to help buy two famous Rembrandt portraits. The preliminary sale agreement for 160 million euros was signed last week. The Rijksmuseum has to pay the other 80 million itself.

The Telegraaf reported this on Monday. The Rijksmuseum has secretly negotiated the purchase of these paintings - full length portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit, also called the "brother and sister of the Night Watch", painted in 1634 - over the past few weeks.

In August Wim Pijbes, director of the Rijksmuseum, announced that there was a good chance that the Museum will be buying the portraits, calling it a "realistic dream". According to him, these two portraits are very special. “At the time of these worked Rembrandt had just come from Leiden to Amsterdam to capture the elite in portraits. He captured this young couple phenomenally at full length, as it is known in the art.”

Two weeks ago Jean-Luc Martinez, president of the Louvre, told French media that he had approached Wim Pijbes to discuss a possible joint purchase of the two paintings. It is unclear whether the Louvre will be involved in the purchase.