The Rembrandt Connection

My latest oil painting to give you an impression of my work

A family connection with Rembrandt van Rijn is a bit of a statement which surprised me as much as it may surprise you. Apart from the fact that I am Dutch and we both have a ‘van’ in our surname, we are not literally blood-related, but there is an interesting family connection that is worth a mentioning in my Art blog.

As one of my cousins, Detry Hekman, set out to find out more about our family tree, she stumbled upon a book explaining the importance of the Van Loo family in the life of Rembrandt.

Firstly there is the relationship with Gerrit van Loo, his brother in law, who was married to a sister of Rembrandt’s wife Saskia. Gerrit van Loo, a lawyer at the Friesian court, was really well off as there are accounts of his marriage celebrations lasting for a week and having a cost of 1000 daalders, which was a huge amount in those days. Gerrit also took care of Rembrandt’s business in the province of Friesland. There exist documents stating that Rembrandt and Saskia got married in the house of Gerrit van Loo in Sint Annaparochie so we can safely say that there was a close connection.

Another testimony of Rembrandt’s and Gerrits friendship was the fact that Gerrit was a witness at the baptism of Titus van Rijn on 22 of september 1641 in Amsterdam. Moreover, Gerrit van Loo, who died in 1641, was the guardian of Saskia van Uylenburg, Rembrandt’s wife.

Rembrandt also had a long-lasting friendship with Jan van Loo, a goldsmith who lived in Amsterdam, but who originally came from Friesland. The friendship became even more intense when Magdalena, the daughter of Jan van Loo, married Rembrandt’s son Titus who together had Titia van Rijn, who was an only child. Titia then went on to marry her full cousin Francois van Bijler, whose mother was Sara van Loo, Magdalena’s sister.

Jan van Loo, Rembrandt’s close friend, was the brother of Gerrit and Hester van Loo and here comes the connection…. drumrolls…. Hester van Loo is my 10 times great grandmother. So it is more than plausible that she met Rembrandt van Rijn on various family occasions.

Now let’s apply some modern science here. I’ve read somewhere that emotions (that come from experiences, would you not agree?) can be passed on via our genes and I dare say that Hester was very impressed by Rembrandt’s skill and work and stored this marvell for great art in her genes. Her brother being a goldsmith suggests that there was an ‘energy of Art’ in her immediate environment as well. Science (epigenetics-see the link below) has proven that genes in something like 95% of the cases do not pass on illnesses but they ‘store behaviour’ through what humans see or experience in their direct environment (very simply explained and I do realise that I give a creative twist to this science of epigenetics … perhaps this creative twist comes from my genes, let’s call it the Rembrandt spark!).

Back to my 10x great grandmother. Now, many generations on, I know for a fact that I’m not the only one in our rather extensive family, with an arty spark, as quite a few of my direct cousins are very good at painting and/or drawing, and I know of at least one professional painter, the nephewof my grandmother, Jaap de Raaf, therefore also connected to Rembrandt via Hester. Jaap lives in Canada. It would be pretty interesting to check out the artistic talent in the offspring of Hester van Loo to proof my genes theory, but I’m too busy creating my own artwork.

Another example of my artwork

Whether I’ve inherited an arty spark from the Rembrandt van Rijn / Hester van Loo connection remains open to interpretation, but it is rather nice as an artist to being able to show a part of my early family tree with a connection to Rembrandt through his daughter in law Magdalena, (who is my 10x grandmother Hester’s niece), the mother of his granddaughter Titia.

If you cannot afford an original Rembrandt perhaps you like to check out my work…. although a different, more contemporary style, you might be surprised and love it.


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Like to more information about epigenetics, check out this video with Bruce Lipton

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