Marieke de Winkel

Winner Dissertation Prize 2005

Fashion and Fancy: Dress and Meaning in Rembrandt’s Paintings

Supervisor: Prof. dr E. van de Wetering
Nomination: University of Amsterdam, Faculty of the Humanities

Report by the selection committee

The year 2006 sees the 400th birthday of Rembrandt van Rijn. The extensive literature on the painter will be augmented enormously. Marieke de Winkel, however, has succeeded in throwing a new light on Rembrandt’s work with her study of the costumes in his paintings. It is too easy to think that the costumes in his portraits, biblical and historical representations simply reflect the fashions of his days. And even if this is the case, as in a recent discovery of a portrait of an old woman that can be added to the oeuvre of the master, it appeared that the costume proved to be of great importance in dating and attributing the picture. For her dissertation Dr de Winkel made use of historical visual material and of current literature in order to give clothes and traditional costumes their proper place and to learn what was fashionable or theater clothes, what was seen as formal and informal attire. Mrs De Winkel has created a costume iconology which brings about new insights and helps us to even better understand Rembrandt and his time.