Hendrickje as Rembrandt's Flora

Hendrickje as Rembrandt's Flora
Hendrickje as Rembrandt's Flora

Rembrandthad been widowed in 1642 by his first wifeSaskia. So to run the house for him and also take care of his son Titus, he lived with them for a while the housekeeper Geertje Dircks. But it was not easy to live with her due to her character, so over time the painter met the youngHendrickje Stoffels, who would end up becoming her companion until end of his days.


Hendrickje as Rembrandt's Flora

As he had done with Saskia, whom he painted accompanying him in a famous self-portrait, for example, Hendrickje was also portrayed or used as a model on various occasions. For example, in the work we see here or in his painting Woman Bathing in a Stream

The truth is that if we compare the images of his second wife with those of other models, we must come to the conclusion that they are paintings with a very special force. Something that lies on the one hand in the beauty of the young woman, and on the other in the feelings that she aroused in the artist.

In the case of this canvas, which he made around the year 1657 and which is kept in theMetropolitan of New York, he paints her for us disguised as Flora. And it is that she liked to paint her loved ones transformed into mythological beings.

It is a portrait of the simplest in terms of its composition, but the whole is very fresh, something that youth helps, the attributesflowers, the colors and the chosen light that falls on the clothes and the face of the protagonist. In fact, thanks to that light, the figure is isolated from its surroundings. She even she is isolated from us, the spectators, since the woman does not look at us, nor does she give us a single gesture.

Everything in the painting is extraordinarily delicate: her face in profile, her earrings, the floral headdress, the necklace, the blouse and the folds of the sleeves, the yellow skirt with more printed flowers. Everything is exquisite, but everything is dissolved in an overall harmony provided by lighting and color selection.

her Play with the light tones of the shirt, and the incarnation of her face and neck. Some of the most luminous areas, at times almost transparent, that stand out against the background, and that in turn help to highlight the beginning of the yellow skirt. And curiously, that yellow color is the support to achieve depth in this authentic profile effigy. And it is that on the skirt we see how the woman's left hand is lifting her dress, thus creating a very close-up that takes the scene backwards.

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