If you’ve ever felt you literally could not live without Rembrandt, you’re in luck: Next month, Amsterdam’s Rembrandt House Museum will offer tattoos straight from the Dutch Old Master’s oeuvre. Running June 19–25, The Poor Man’s Rembrandt Project will charge €100–€250 (~$109–$272) a pop for permanent images of the artist’s self-portraits, etching subjects, and 17th-century building facades.
Rembrandt van Rijn was a celebrity in his day and remains one of the best-known artists of the Dutch Golden Age. He lived in what is now the Rembrandt House Museum from 1639 until 1658, when the artist declared bankruptcy amidst mounting debts and moved to a less expensive area of Amsterdam. Rembrandt died a little over 10 years later in 1669. The museum displays a collection of the artist’s paintings, drawings, and etchings, and contains studio spaces where visitors can observe daily painting and etching demonstrations.
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“Rembrandt was not just living there and working there, but also teaching his pupils,” the museum’s director, Milou Halbesma, told the Guardian. “We want to work in our new studio space with Dutch artists to connect with the public.” (The museum reopened in March after a four-month expansion and renovation.)
Halbesma also said the tattoo project could help the institution engage a younger audience, a problem she described as “the challenge for every museum.”
Four tattoo artists were selected for the upcoming project, including 71-7ear-old Henk Schiffmacher, who has attained celebrity status in the field and is largely regarded as an expert (he also wrote a book chronicling the history of tattoos). Schiffmacher — who goes by the name Hanky Panky — runs a shop with fellow tattoo artist and painter Tycho Veldhoen, who will work alongside Schiffmacher on the museum’s initiative. Artists Rupa van Teylingen and Timothy John Englisch, two contributors to Schiffmacher and Veldhoen’s shop, will also be a part of the project.
“We are all huge Rembrandt fans,” Englisch told Hyperallergic, pointing out that Rembrandt’s medium of etching is similar to the art of tattooing.
“The loose and fast way he could draw something in just a few lines is just incredible,” Englisch said. “And his paintings are full of real emotion and beautiful high contrast with the light and dark.”
“You can just feel it,” Englisch continued. “A picture of it doesn’t do it justice. You can only experience a Rembrandt standing in front of it. This is a true master and we feel honored to work in his former home and workplace.”
Appointments are now open and visitors can book a session with the tattoo artist of their choice.