Pallas Athene Rembrandt Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Pallas Athene is one of the few original Rembrandt paintings to be on permanent display in Portugal, as part of the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian collection in Lisbon

The reflections of light on the armour is beautiful and entirely typical of the work of Rembrandt. This was an artist who perfected light in his work in a way that perhaps had never been achieved before.

To see this artwork in its original form, you will need to head to the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon, though this institution also holds a fine collection of work from other famous names.

The painting was purchased from the Hermitage in St Petersburg, courtesy of art dealer Antikvariat. It has previously been in Russia for several centuries, including under the ownership of Tsarina Catharina II.

There has been some discussion that the painting may have come from a scene of the the marriage of Henriëtte Catharina van Oranje and Johan George II of Anhalt-Dessau. Having been completed so many centuries ago, it is unlikely that this theory will ever be proved or disproved conclusively.

Pallas Athene is believed to have been part of a three-part commission from Herman Becker. This has been discussed in the most comprehensive study of Rembrandt's work, namely the Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings which has published a full collection of the artist's work in oils. This publication is clear in its belief that Juno and Venus and Cupid joined this painting is a trinity of goddesses.

A series of prints from around a decade earlier were added to the collection of Herman Becker and he was immediately excited by the idea of combining these three mythological goddesses and surely was behind the decision for Rembrandt to put together a similar series, only in oils.