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Princess Beatrix and Queen Silvia attend opening of Rembrandt at the Vatican: Images from Heaven and Earth

Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands and Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden joined forces last Wednesday to open a new exhibition in the Vatican: “Rembrandt at the Vatican: Images from Heaven and Earth”. Queen Silvia opened the exhibition with a speech.

The exhibition has 25 etchings from the Swedish Zorn Museum and the painting “Old man with a Turban” from the Dutch Kremer collection. It is the very first time Rembrandt’s paintings are on show in any Vatican museum. “Rembrandt at the Vatican” is taking place to commemorate 500 years since the Reformation and the relationship between Catholics and Protestants.

Rembrandt, or Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, was born in 1606 as the son of a Protestant father and a Catholic mother. His work shows religious influences from both sides as he interprets the stories from the bible. Although there is little evidence that Rembrandt belonged to any church, four of his children were baptised in the Dutch Reformed Church. His only legitimate child to survive infancy was his son Titus. He lost his wife to tuberculosis when she was just 29-years-old. Rembrandt had only just finished the Night Watch, and for the next decade, he focused on etchings. After his wife’s death, he also fathered a daughter with Hendrickje Stoffels.

The exhibition can be visited until 27 February 2017.

Queen Silvia also attended a seminar “Narcotics: Problems and Solutions of This Global Issue” before the opening of the exhibition. Later that evening she was invited to a dinner by the Swedish ambassador to Italy in the residence of the Swedish ambassador in Rome. Today, she attended the second day of the seminar, where it was expected that Pope Francis would attend as well. Pope Francis and Queen Silvia met not long ago in Sweden. They met during the celebration of the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation, where the Pope met with both the Swedish King and Queen in the town of Lund.

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