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Displaying items by tag: the conspiracy of the batvians under claudius civilis

It was meant to be Rembrandt’s triumphant comeback from bankruptcy but ended up being one of his most demoralizing and disastrous paintings ever.

Unloved in the 17th century, but revered today, the painting is now set to travel to the UK for first time, 352 years after it was rejected by the civic leaders of Amsterdam.

"The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis" is a remarkable painting that usually hangs – and rarely leaves – Sweden’s national museum in Stockholm.

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Rembrandt’s “The Conspiracy of the Batvians under Claudius Civilis” is currently on view at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Once the Dutch master’s largest and most celebrated painting, the masterpiece is owned by the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts and has been at the Nationalmuseum of Art in Stockholm for over 150 years. During that time, the work has left Sweden only twice -- once in 1925 and again in 1969. On both of those occasions the painting was sent to Amsterdam and displayed at the Rijksmuseum. The current showing commemorates the 400-year anniversary of bilateral relations between Sweden and the Netherlands.

Rembrandt painted “The Conspiracy of the Batvians under Claudius Civilis” between 1661 and 1662 under a commission from the burgomasters of Amsterdam. The canvas, which was originally 18 feet high by 18 feet wide, was intended to be part of a series of eight equally sized paintings depicting Batvian history to be hung in the new Amsterdam Town Hall (now the Royal Palace Amsterdam). The Batvians lived in the Netherlands at the start of the Christian era and famously revolted against the Romans, who ruled northern Europe.

In 1662, a month after “The Conspiracy of the Batvians under Claudius Civilis” was hung in the Amsterdam Town Hall, Rembrandt retrieved the painting to make changes to it. The work was cut down to about 6 feet high by 10 feet wide, most likely by the artist himself, and was never returned to the Town Hall. The existing portion of the canvas was donated to the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in 1798. In 1865, the work was given to the National Museum of Art on long-term loan.  

“The Conspiracy of the Batvians under Claudius Civilis” is on view in the Rijksmuseum’s Gallery of Honour. 

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