The cabinet may back the purchase of a Rembrandt portrait owned by a British noble family but currently on show at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet, who was 50 when it was painted, normally hangs in Penrhyn Castle near Bangor in Wales.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Culture today confirmed a report in the Telegraaf that the cabinet was looking at possibly buying the painting. It is a unique opportunity because Rembrandts rarely come up for sale, the spokeswoman said.
She declined to put a value on the painting, but said the ministry did have a budget for one-off purchases. Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm could also make extra money available, and corporate sponsorship could also be looked at.
The portrait will hang in the Rijksmuseum until the end of April 2007. It was painted in 1657 – a year before Rembrandt went bankrupt – and has been privately owned for more than a century. It has twice before been on show in the Netherlands; in 1957 and 1907.
‘The result ranks as undoubtedly one of Rembrandt’s most remarkable portraits,’ the Rijksmuseum says on its website