Over 12,000 turn out to see €160 million Rembrandt portraits

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About 12,500 visitors arrived at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam on Saturday to see the free exhibition of the marriage portraits featuring Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit, painted by Rembrandt. The paintings were purchased jointly for 160 million euros by the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre in Paris, with funding from the Netherlands and France.

The national gallery declares it was a big success, when a busy day in the peak season would normally draw ten thousand people. During the peak season it attracts half that on an average day, according to newswire ANP.

Before minister of culture Jet Bussemaker opened the museum doors in the morning, there was already a large queue in front of the doors. Within a quarter of an hour after the opening, there were 2,000 interested people within the museum. Among them were many families and tourists.

Visitors could also visit the remaining halls of the museum until 9pm.

The famous portraits have a prominent placement next to Rembrandt's Night Watch, and will remain in the Rijksmuseum for the following three months. After that they are to undergo a restoration, before being rotated between the Amsterdam and Paris museums.

The Netherlands and France bought the portraits from a French private collector. They were painted in 1634, and are two meters in height. The paintings have been privately for four hundred years.

Rembrandt painted the young couple in full-length, which was only used for royalty at the time. On the canvases, one can see Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit, at the time 23 and 21 years old, in beautiful, valuable costumes of French fashion. Sadly, tragedy struck and their marriage didn’t last long, Marten died at just 28 years of age.

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