RKD Netherland Institute for art History
In 1641 Rembrandt painted A Girl in a Picture Frame and A Scholar at His Desk. They decorated the walls of canal houses and palaces and were among the favourite paintings in the collection of the last Polish King. In the 18th century the paintings were acquired by the Polish noble family Lanckoroński. At the beginning of the Second World War they were seized by the Nazis and after the war ended they seemed to have disappeared. Everyone thought that they had been destroyed in the terrible violence of the war. However, five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall the Polish countess Karolina Lanckorońska donated a large collection of art works to the Royal Palace in Warsaw, including the two portraits by Rembrandt.
In The Girl and the Scholar. Chronicle of Two Presumed Lost Rembrandts Gerdien Verschoor sketches the story of the journey of two Rembrandt paintings, which she interweaves with the life story of the Polish countess who preserved the Girl and the Scholar for future generations.
In this RKD Talk Gerdien Verschoor will go into the history of these Rembrandt paintings, the life of countess Lanckorońska, and the lengthy writing process involved in the writing of the book. Why is The Girl and the Scholar more than just her third novel? Furthermore, Michiel Franken, curator of Technical Documentation, Rembrandt and the Rembrandt school at the RKD, will discuss the two paintings from the standpoint of his expertise.
Gerdien Verschoor (1963) is art historian and author of novels, short stories, literary non-fiction and essays. She lived and worked for many years in Poland. Art, literature and the history of Central Europe are her most important sources of inspiration. The Second World War also often plays an important role in her work.
For many years Gerdien combined her writing with her job as director of CODART, the international network of museum curators of Dutch and Flemish art. On 1 July 2019 she will start her new position as director of the Camp Westerbork Memorial Centre.