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Rembrandt portraits, thought to be the artist's smallest, will go on show.

Arts and EntertainmentRembrandt portraits, thought to be the artist's smallest, will go on show.

The small portraits made by Rembrandt have been put on display in Amsterdam. The images of Jan and Jaapgen, a wealthy couple from Leiden, vanished for almost two centuries into a private family collection. The paintings have been accepted as part of the Dutch master's work and have been unveiled on a long-term loan. Jonathan Bikker, the museum's curator of 17th-century Dutch painting, says it's mindblowing.

The depictions of Jan Willemsz van der Pluym and Jaapgen Caerlsdr, who were family friends of the artist, were painted in 1635 as a favour. Bikker believes Jaapgen may have asked Rembrandt to make larger versions of the portraits to have later. They are smaller versions of two large works that are not attributed to Rembrandt but were first suspected to be the work of the Dutch master after the Amsterdam city archivist discovered all four pieces in a 1760 auction catalogue. The portraits were auctioned by Christie's in London in July, thanks to the "compelling evidence" provided by the X-radiography, IR photography and reflectography, macro X-ray fluorescence, stereomicroscopy and paint sample analysis. Bikker says the style, paint and alterations were similar to that of Rembrandt. When you make a copy of Rembrandt's work, you try to be exact and precise, but he makes changes during the painting process.

Rembrandt and his family had a close friendship with the Van der Pluym family. The portraits were given on a long-term loan by Henry Holterman, whose family bought them earlier this year. The director of the Rijksmuseum said that Jan and Jaapgen will bring visitors closer to Rembrandt.

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