Govaert Flinck
(Kleve, 1615-1660, Amsterdam)
Dame en costume oriental
Huile sur toile, 79 x 66 cm
Inscrit en bas à droite: Rembrandt f. 1636

Already Arnold Houbraken, writing about Dutch art in the early 18th century, noted that a number of paintings by Govaert Flinck, a pupil of Rembrandt, were taken for the master's work and had been sold as such. The Bührle Collection's "Lady in Oriental Costume" is probably one of these. It was long assumed that Saskia van Uylenburgh, Rembrandt's first wife, was the model for this portrait, but although Flinck was acquainted with Saskia, his objective was not to paint a particular woman, but a woman in Rembrandt's style. The picture was not a commission, but indepentently produced for the market; it corresponds to a type of painting common in 17th century Holland known as "Tronie": head-and-shoulder images intended as studiens in character, physiognomy and costume rather than portraits.