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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

“The Polish Rider” by Rembrandt

"The Polish Rider" by Rembrandt

“The Polish Rider” by Rembrandt

“The Polish Rider” depicts a young man travelling on horseback through a dark and gloomy landscape. It is not known whether the painting was a portrait of a particular person, living or historical, or the story it represents. There is also some uncertainty about who is the artist of this painting. However, the quality of the art and complex expression on the Rider’s brilliantly painted face all point to Rembrandt, and that is the greatest consensus of the experts.

The identity of the portrayed figure has encouraged various theories but no clear answer. The outfit of the rider, the weapons and even the breed of horse are believed to be Polish or eastern European. The young rider appears to be facing potential danger in the mountainous landscape. Some historical and biblical characters have been suggested. Including the speculation that the figure is an idealistic representation of a “soldier of Christ”, meaning a soldier defending Eastern Europe against the Turks.

Rembrandt

Rembrandt van Rijn was an innovative and prolific master draughtsman, painter, and printmaker. He is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history. Rembrandt’s works depict a range of styles and subjects, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, biblical and mythological themes as well as animal studies.

Explore Rembrandt

Explore the Frick Collection

Reflections

  • Who is the rider in this painting?
  • Do you agree with the consensus that Rembrandt is the artist?

The Polish Rider

  • Title:             The Polish Rider
  • Polish:          Lisowczyk
  • Artist:           Rembrandt
  • Created:       1655
  • Medium:      Oil on canvas
  • Periods:        Dutch Golden Age, Baroque
  • Dimensions: 116.8 × 134.9 cm (46 × 53.1 in)
  • Museum:      Frick Collection

Rembrandt

Rembrandt van Rijn Quotes

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“A painting is complete when it has the shadows of a god.”

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“Practise what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know.”

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“Life etches itself onto our faces as we grow older, showing our violence, excesses or kindnesses.”

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“A painting is finished when the artist says it is finished.”

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“An honest man always values earning honour over wealth.”

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“Without atmosphere a painting is nothing.”

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“Painting is the grandchild of Nature.”

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“Practice what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know.”

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“A painting is not made to be sniffed.”

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“Old age is a hindrance to creativity but cannot crush my youthful spirit.”

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“Practise what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know.”
– Rembrandt Van Rijn

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Photo Credit 1) Rembrandt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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