Rembrandt’s sober and powerful depiction of Bellona, the Roman goddess of war, was perhaps intended to suggest the new Dutch Republic’s readiness to repel foreign forces. Images of Mars and his sister Bellona occasionally decorated the headquarters of civic guard companies. The shield, with its frightful face of Medusa, was added at a late stage of work, probably in response to seeing a version of Rubens's well-known painting of a severed Medusa's head.
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed: (lower left) Rembrandt f. / 1633·; (on lower rim of shield) BE[LL]OON[A]
George Nugent Temple Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham, Stowe, Buckinghamshire (by 1797–d. 1813); his son, Richard Temple Nugent Brydges Chandos Grenville, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, Stowe (1813–d. 1839); his son, Richard Plantagenet Temple Nugent Brydges Chandos Grenville, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, Stowe (1839–48; his sale, Christie's, at Stowe house, September 15, 1848, no. 424, as "the wife of the painter, as Minerva," by Rembrandt, for £53.11 to Roe); R. Roe, Cambridge (from 1848); William W. Pearce, London (until 1872; his estate sale, Phillips, London, April 23, 1872, no. 106, as "A Portrait of a Lady as Minerva"); comte de l'Espine, Brussels; Étienne Martin, baron de Beurnonville, Paris (until 1885; his sale, Paris, June 3, 1884, no. 294, as "La femme de Rembrandt, répresentée en Pallas," for Fr 20,000, bought in by Féral; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, January 30–31, 1885, no. 70, for Fr 12,000 to his brother); [Sedelmeyer, Paris]; [Sir George Donaldson, London, in 1909]; [Duveen, New York, in 1916]; Michael Friedsam, New York (by 1924–d. 1931)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Michael Friedsam Collection," November 15, 1932–April 9, 1933, no catalogue.
Art Gallery of Toronto. "The Classical Contribution to Western Civilization," December 15, 1948–January 31, 1949, not in catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Classical Contribution to Western Civilization," April 21–September 5, 1949, not in catalogue.
Dayton Art Institute. "The Artist and His Family," March 3–April 30, 1950, no catalogue?
Detroit Institute of Arts. "Thirty-Eight Great Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 2–28, 1951, no catalogue.
Art Gallery of Toronto. "Thirty-Eight Great Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 14–December 12, 1951, no catalogue.
City Art Museum of St. Louis. "Thirty-Eight Great Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 6–February 4, 1952, no catalogue.
Seattle Art Museum. "Thirty-Eight Great Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," March 1–June 30, 1952, no catalogue.
Brooklyn Museum. "Take Care," January 1–February 28, 1954, no catalogue.
Hartford, Conn. Wadsworth Atheneum. "Take Care," March 10–April 25, 1954, no catalogue.
Newark Museum. "Old Masters," November 15, 1955–January 15, 1956, no catalogue?
Indianapolis. John Herron Art Museum. "The Young Rembrandt and His Times," February 14–March 23, 1958, no. 7.
San Diego Fine Arts Gallery. "The Young Rembrandt and His Times," April 11–May 18, 1958, no. 7.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. "Rembrandt and His Pupils," January 9–February 23, 1969, no. 6.
Toronto. Art Gallery of Ontario. "Rembrandt and His Pupils," March 14–April 27, 1969, no. 6.
University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley. "Dutch Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 25, 1969–January 4, 1970, checklist no. 12.
Houston. Rice University. "Dutch Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 18–March 1, 1970, checklist no. 12.
Athens. National Pinakothiki, Alexander Soutzos Museum. "Treasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Memories and Revivals of the Classical Spirit," September 24–December 31, 1979, no. 46 (as "Saskia as Bellona").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 10, 1995–January 7, 1996, no. 7.
Edinburgh. National Gallery of Scotland. "Rembrandt's Women," June 8–September 2, 2001, no. 26.
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Rembrandt's Women," September 22–December 16, 2001, no. 26.
Moscow. State Pushkin Museum. "Rembrandt, ego predshestvenniki i posledovateli," September 12–November 12, 2006, no. 34.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.
Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado. "Rembrandt, pintor de historias," October 15, 2008–January 6, 2009, no. 14.
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, Huntington T. Block Insurance Agency, Inc. "Vermeer and Rembrandt: The Masters of the 17th Century Dutch Golden Age," October 24, 2015–January 5, 2016, no. 50.
Tokyo. Mori Arts Center Gallery, Huntington T. Block Insurance Agency, Inc. "Vermeer and Rembrandt: The Masters of the 17th Century Dutch Golden Age," January 14–March 31, 2016, no. 50.
Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art, Huntington T. Block Insurance Agency, Inc. "Vermeer and Rembrandt: The Masters of the 17th Century Dutch Golden Age," April 6–May 8, 2016, no. 50.
Stowe: A Description of the House and Gardens of the Most Noble & Puissant Prince, George-Grenville-Nugent-Temple, Marquis of Buckingham. Buckingham, 1797, p. 54, as "Rembrandt's wife, in the character of Minerva, painted by him".
Henry Rumsey Forster. The Stowe Catalogue. London, 1848, p. 193, no. 424, states that it was purchased by the Marquis of Buckingham on the recommendation of Joshua Reynolds.
Paul Eudel. L'Hôtel Drouot et la curiosité en 1883–1884. Paris, 1885, pp. 405–6, as the wife of Rembrandt as Pallas.
Eugène Dutuit. Tableaux et dessins de Rembrandt. Paris, 1885, p. 17.
Paul Eudel. L'Hôtel Drouot et la curiosité en 1884–1885. Paris, 1886, p. 199.
Illustrated Catalogue of the Eighth Series of 100 Paintings by Old Masters. Paris, 1902, p. 42, no. 32, ill. between pp. 42 and 43.
Wilhelm [von] Bode with the assistance of C. Hofstede de Groot. The Complete Work of Rembrandt. Vol. 8, Paris, 1906, pp. 37, 100, no. 569, pl. 569, as "Saskia as Bellona"; notes the inscription on the shield.
Adolf Rosenberg. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. Ed. W. R. Valentiner. 3rd ed. Stuttgart, 1909, pp. 554, 570, ill. p. 153, as in the Donaldson collection.
C[ornelis]. Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. Ed. Edward G. Hawke. Vol. 6, London, 1916, p. 132, no. 196, as in the possession of Duveen, New York.
Hans Kauffmann. "Rembrandt und die Humanisten vom Muiderkring." Jahrbuch der preuszischen Kunstsammlungen 41 (1920), p. 80.
D. S. Meldrum. Rembrandt's Paintings. London, 1923, pp. 41, 69, 192, pl. CLXXVI.
William B. M'Cormick. "Michael Friedsam Collection." International Studio 80 (November 1924), p. 115.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], p. 28.
"Valentiner is Congratulated on Birthday." Art News 28 (May 10, 1930), ill. p. 4.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Rembrandt Paintings in America. New York, 1931, unpaginated, no. 28, pl. 28.
Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), pp. 46, 48.
A[braham]. Bredius. Rembrandt Gemälde. Vienna, 1935, p. 19, no. 467, pl. 467.
Emil Kieser. "Über Rembrandts Verhältnis zur Antike." Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 10, no. 4/5 (1941/42), pp. 137–39.
Josephine L. Allen. "The Museum's Rembrandts." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 4 (November 1945), p. 74, as Saskia posing as Bellona.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. and Murray Pease. "Report on an Early Rembrandt." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 6 (October 1947), pp. 49–53, ill. (overall and details), and ill. on cover (color), report on the restoration of the painting and reattribute it to Rembrandt.
Jakob Rosenberg. Rembrandt: Life & Work. rev. ed. London, 1964, p. 72.
Angus Fletcher. Allegory: The Theory of a Symbolic Mode. Ithaca, N.Y., 1964, p. 372, pl. 3.
Konrad Kraft. "Der behelmte Alexander der Große." Jahrbuch für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte 15 (1965), pp. 19–20.
Kurt Bauch. Rembrandt Gemälde. Berlin, 1966, p. 14, pl. 257.
Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann inEncyclopedia of World Art. Vol. 11, New York, 1966, col. 922.
Kenneth Clark. Rembrandt and the Italian Renaissance. London, 1966, pp. 137–38, fig. 129.
Bob Haak. Rembrandt: His Life, His Work, His Time. New York, , p. 101, fig. 150, erroneously states that x-rays reveal that Rembrandt originally painted Saskia nude.
Paolo Lecaldano inL'opera pittorica completa di Rembrandt. Milan, 1969, ill. p. 131, includes it among works of doubtful attribution.
Horst Gerson, ed. Rembrandt: The Complete Edition of the Paintings. By A[braham]. Bredius. 3rd ed. London, 1969, p. 592, no. 467, ill. p. 378, calls it "too dull in expression and too awkwardly composed to be by Rembrandt himself".
D. P. Snoep. "Review of Haak 1969." Antiek 4 (September 1969), pp. 104–5, criticizes Haak's subjective language, demonstrated in his appraisal of this work.
Yu[ry]. Kuznetsov inRembrandt Harmensz van Rijn: Paintings from Soviet Museums. Ed. V[ladimir]. Loewinson-Lessing. Leningrad [St. Petersburg], 1971, unpaginated, under no. 7.
Werner Sumowski. "Kritische Bemerkungen zur neuesten Gemäldekritik." Neue Beiträge zur Rembrandt-Forschung. Ed. Otto v[on]. Simson and Jan Kelch. Berlin, 1973, p. 94.
Colin Anson. "The Picture Collection at Stowe." Apollo 97 (June 1973), pp. 594, 596, fig. 42.
A. Pigler. Barockthemen: Eine Auswahl von Verzeichnissen zur Ikonographie des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts. 2nd ed. [first ed. 1956]. Budapest, 1974, vol. 2, p. 54.
Alan Levy. "The Rembrandt Research Project: Old Myths, New Methods." Art News 75 (September 1976), pp. 36, 38, ill. (color).
J. Bolten and H. Bolten-Rempt. The Hidden Rembrandt. Milan, 1977, p. 179, no. 138, ill.
Walter L. Strauss and Marjon van der Meulen. The Rembrandt Documents. New York, 1979, p. 95.
Maryan W. Ainsworth et al. Art and Autoradiography: Insights into the Genesis of Paintings by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Vermeer. New York, 1982, pp. 46, 103, pls. 27–30 (overall, x-ray radiograph, and autoradiographs).
E. Haverkamp-Begemann. Rembrandt: The Nightwatch. Princeton, 1982, p. 104, fig. 78, suggests that the masonry arch is a city gate.
Denys Sutton. "Aspects of British Collecting, Part II: VI, Cross-Currents in Taste." Apollo 116 (December 1982), p. 380.
Gary Schwartz. Rembrandt, His Life, His Paintings. New York, 1985, pp. 6, 124–25, 127, fig. 117 (color).
Jan Kelch. Der Mann mit dem Goldhelm. Berlin, 1986, p. 24.
Christian Tümpel. Rembrandt: Mythos und Methode. Königstein, 1986, pp. 179–80, 402, no. 103, ill. p. 172 (color).
J[osua]. Bruyn et al. A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings. Vol. 2, 1631–1634. The Hague, 1986, pp. 26, 38, 42–43, 321–32, 456, 498–99, 509, 587, no. A70, ill. (overall, details, x-ray, and autoradiographs) and fig. 27 (cross-section of paint sample), doubt that Saskia was the model.
Francis Broun. "Sir Joshua Reynolds' Collection of Paintings." PhD diss., Princeton University, 1987, vol. 1, pp. 42, 117 n. 3; vol. 2, p. 71, no. A4.
Christopher White. "Review of Bruyn et al. 1986." Burlington Magazine 129 (December 1987), p. 809.
Svetlana [L.] Alpers. Rembrandt's Enterprise: The Studio and the Market. Chicago, 1988, pp. 56, 139 n. 57.
I. Linnik inDutch and Flemish Paintings from the Hermitage. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1988, p. 48, under no. 22.
Charles L. Mee Jr. Rembrandt's Portrait: A Biography. New York, 1988, pp. 125, 320 n. 14.
J[osua]. Bruyn et al. A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings. Vol. 3, 1635–1642. The Hague, 1989, pp. 8–9, 465.
Walter Liedtke. "Dutch Paintings in America: The Collectors and Their Ideals." Great Dutch Paintings from America. Exh. cat., Mauritshuis, The Hague. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1990, p. 52.
H. Perry Chapman. Rembrandt's Self-portraits: A Study in Seventeenth-Century Identity. Princeton, 1990, pp. 37, 40, fig. 52.
Christopher Brown et al. Rembrandt: The Master & His Workshop. Ed. Sally Salvesen. Exh. cat., Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Vol. 1, "Paintings."New Haven, 1991, p. 261, under no. 43.
Claus Grimm. Rembrandt selbst: Ein Neubewertung seiner Porträtkunst. Stuttgart, 1991, p. 61, figs. 106, 119 (overall and detail).
Mieke Bal. Reading "Rembrandt": Beyond the Word-Image Opposition. Cambridge, 1991, pp. 319–22, 334, 340, 362, 416 n. 38, p. 449 n. 48, fig. 8.12.
Pieter van Thiel inRembrandt: The Master & His Workshop. Ed. Sally Salvesen. Exh. cat., Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Vol. 1, "Paintings."New Haven, 1991, p. 190, under no. 23.
Anne van Grevenstein, Karin [M.] Groen, and Ernst van de Wetering. "'Esther Before Haman,' Attributed to Rembrandt." Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum 39, special no. (1991), p. 66, fig. 10 (detail), discuss it as an example of a facial type in Rembrandt's oeuvre that has been identified with Saskia, noting that the features do not in fact match up with those of Saskia [known from the silverpoint engraving in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin].
Leonard J. Slatkes. Rembrandt: Catalogo completo dei dipinti. Florence, 1992, pp. 164–65, no. 89, ill. (color).
Christopher Brown inRembrandt, His Teachers and His Pupils. Exh. cat., Bunkamura Museum of Art. Tokyo, 1992, pp. 66, 68, 223–24.
Michael Podro. "Review of Bal 1992." Burlington Magazine 135 (October 1993), p. 699.
Ernst van de Wetering. "De paletten van Rembrandt en Jozef Israëls, een onderzoek naar de relatie tussen stijl en schildertechniek." Oud Holland 107, no. 1 (1993), pp. 147–48, figs. 8, 9 (radiograph).
Yoriko Kobayashi-Sato. "The Portrait and the 'Tronie' as Seen in the Art of Rembrandt." Faces of the Golden Age: Seventeenth Century Dutch Portrait. Exh. cat., Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art. [The Hague], 1994, p. 23; English supplement, p. 12.
Walter Liedtke inRembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, "Paintings, Drawings, and Prints: Art-Historical Perspectives."New York, , pp. 40, 47, 50, 55–58, no. 7, ill. (color).
Hubert von Sonnenburg. Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 1, "Paintings: Problems and Issues."New York, 1995, pp. 22–24, 45, figs. 17 (x-radiograph detail), 18 (autoradiograph detail) 19 (color detail), 42 (color detail) 43 (x-radiograph detail).
Karin [M.] Groen. "Halcyon Days for Art History." Shop Talk: Studies in Honor of Seymour Slive. Ed. Cynthia P. Schneider et al. Cambridge, Mass., 1995, pp. 89–90.
Ernst van de Wetering. "Reflections on the Relation between Technique and Style: The Use of the Palette by the Seventeenth-Century Painter." Historical Painting Techniques, Materials, and Studio Practice. [Marina Del Rey, Calif.], 1995, p. 201, figs. 2–3 (autoradiographs).
Ernst van de Wetering. Rembrandt: The Painter at Work. Amsterdam, 1997, pp. 103, 124, 130, 149–50, figs. 169 (color detail of paint cross-section), 185 (color), 186 (autoradiograph).
Jeroen Giltaij inRembrandt: A Genius and His Impact. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Victoria. Melbourne, 1997, p. 137, fig. 15C, under no. 15.
Simon Schama. Rembrandt's Eyes. New York, 1999, p. 367.
Christopher Wright. Rembrandt. Paris, 2000, pp. 58, 60, fig. 44 (color).
Harry Berger Jr. Fictions of the Pose: Rembrandt Against the Italian Renaissance. Stanford, 2000, fig. 49.
Alan Chong. Rembrandt Creates Rembrandt: Art and Ambition in Leiden, 1629–1631. Exh. cat., Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Boston, 2000, p. 80.
Julia Lloyd Williams. Rembrandt's Women. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Scotland. Edinburgh, 2001, pp. 14, 90, 92, 98, 100–102, 104, 253 n. 16 to no. 20, p. 254, no. 26, ill. (color).
Julia Lloyd Williams. Rembrandt: Artemisia y Mujer en el lecho. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 2002, p. 23, fig. 13 (color).
Walter Liedtke. "Rembrandt's Women." Apollo, n.s., 155 (February 2002), pp. 47–48.
Volker Manuth and Marieke de Winkel. Rembrandt's "Minerva in her Study" of 1635: The Splendor and Wisdom of a Goddess. New York, 2002, pp. 3, 5, 12, 17 nn. 2, 13, fig. 2.
Anat Gilboa. Images of the Feminine in Rembrandt's Work. Delft, 2003, pp. 29, 155–56, 212 n. 25.
Amy Golahny. Rembrandt's Reading: The Artist's Bookshelf of Ancient Poetry and History. Amsterdam, 2003, pp. 39, 244 n. 51, fig. 5, suggests that Rembrandt based his depiction of Bellona on a verse by Elias Herckmans.
Irina Sokolova et al. inRembrandt et son école. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. Paris, 2003, p. 84, under no. 1.
Catherine B. Scallen. Rembrandt, Reputation, and the Practice of Connoisseurship. Amsterdam, 2004, p. 356 n. 118.
Rembrandt, ego predshestvenniki i posledovateli. Exh. cat., State Pushkin Museum. Moscow, 2006, pp. 10, 52–53, no. 34, ill. (color).
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 39, 46, 70, fig. 51 (color).
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. ix, xi, 9; vol. 2, pp. 596–604, no. 147, colorpl. 147, fig. 145 (x-radiograph).
Teresa Posada Kubissa inRembrandt, pintor de historias. Ed. Alejandro Vergara. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 2008, pp. 135–36, 145, 153, no. 14, ill. p. 137 (color).
Alejandro Vergara inRembrandt, pintor de historias. Ed. Alejandro Vergara. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 2008, p. 30.
Mariët Westermann inRembrandt, pintor de historias. Ed. Alejandro Vergara. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 2008, pp. 79–80, ill. p. 78 (color detail).
Dagmar Hirschfelder. Tronie und Porträt in der niederländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts. Berlin, 2008, pp. 122, 186 n. 46, p. 422, no. 420.
Walter Liedtke. "Rembrandt Revelations at the Metropolitan Museum." Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen, Beiheft: Wissenschaft auf der Suche 51 (2009), p. 45.
Dennis P. Weller inRembrandt in America: Collecting and Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. New York, 2011, pp. 166, 168–69 n. 29, fig. 92 (color).
Erik Hinterding inRembrandt: The Quest for Chiaroscuro. Exh. cat., National Museum of Western Art. Tokyo, 2011, p. 60 n. 42, p. 327 n. 42.
Jeroen Giltaij inVermeer and Rembrandt: The Masters of the 17th Century Dutch Golden Age. Exh. cat., Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. Tokyo, 2015, pp. 6–7, 18.
Masato Ozaki inVermeer and Rembrandt: The Masters of the 17th Century Dutch Golden Age. Exh. cat., Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. Tokyo, 2015, p. 30.
Betsy Wieseman et al. inVermeer and Rembrandt: The Masters of the 17th Century Dutch Golden Age. Exh. cat., Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. Tokyo, 2015, pp. 35, 151–52, 154, 196, no. 50, ill. pp. 150, 153, 155, and dust jacket cover (color, overall and details).
Dominique Surh inChefs-d'oeuvre de la collection Leiden: Le siècle de Rembrandt / Masterpieces of the Leiden Collection: The Age of Rembrandt. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre. Paris, 2017, p. 24, under no. 2.
Artist: Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch, Leiden 1606–1669 Amsterdam)Date: ca. 1650Medium: Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, on paper washed with brownAccession: 29.100.939On view in:Not on view