Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn / The Polish Rider / c. 1655Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
The Polish Rider
c. 1655

View Larger Image

View Full Catalog Record Below

This image is one of over 108,000 from the AMICA Library (formerly The Art Museum Image Consortium Library- The AMICO Library™), a growing online collection of high-quality, digital art images from over 20 museums around the world. offers subscriptions to this collection, the finest art image database available on the internet. EVERY image has full curatorial text and can be studied in depth by zooming into the smallest details from within the Image Workspace.
Preview the AMICA Library™ Public Collection in Luna Browser Now

  • Cultures and time periods represented range from contemporary art, to ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works.
  • Types of works include paintings, drawings, watercolors, sculptures, costumes, jewelry, furniture, prints, photographs, textiles, decorative art, books and manuscripts.

Gain access to this incredible resource through either a monthly or a yearly subscription and search the entire collection from your desktop, compare multiple images side by side and zoom into the minute details of the images. Visit for more information on the collection, click on the link below the revolving thumbnail to the right, or email us at .

Creator Name: Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn
Creator Nationality: European; Dutch
Creator Dates/Places: 1606-1669
Creator Name-CRT: Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
Title: The Polish Rider
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1653
Creation End Date: 1657
Creation Date: c. 1655
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: oil on canvas (lined)
Dimensions: 46 x 53 1/8 in. (116.8 x 134.9 cm.)
Inscriptions: Signed on the rock at extreme right: "R[e?]".
AMICA Contributor: The Frick Collection
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 10.1.98
Credit Line: Henry Clay Frick Bequest
Copyright: Licensed for non-commercial, educational use.
Context: The romantic and enigmatic character of this picture has inspired many theories about its subject, meaning, history, and even its attribution to Rembrandt. Several portrait identifications have been proposed, including an ancestor of the Polish Oginski family, which owned the painting in the eighteenth century, and the Polish Socinian theologian Jonasz Szlichtyng. The rider's costume, his weapons, and the breed of his horse have also been claimed as Polish. But if The Polish Rider is a portrait, it certainly breaks with tradition. Equestrian portraits are not common in seventeenth-century Dutch art, and furthermore, in the traditional equestrian portrait the rider is fashionably dressed and his mount is spirited and well-bred. The painting may instead portray a character from history or literature, and many possibilities have been proposed. Candidates range from the Prodigal Son to Gysbrech van Amstel, a hero of Dutch medieval history, and from the Old Testament David to the Mongolian warrior Tamerlane. It is possible that Rembrandt intended simply to represent a foreign soldier, a theme popular in his time in European art, especially in prints. Nevertheless, Rembrandt's intentions in The Polish Rider seem clearly to transcend a simple expression of delight in the exotic. The painting has also been described as a latter-day Miles Christianus (Soldier of Christ), an apotheosis of the mounted soldiers who were still defending Eastern Europe against the Turks in the seventeenth century. Many have felt that the youthful rider faces unknown dangers in the strange and somber landscape, with its mountainous rocks crowned by a mysterious building, its dark water, and the distant flare of a fire.
Related Document Description: New York, The Frick Collection. Art in the Frick Collection: Paintings, Sculpture, Decorative Arts [cat.]. Comp. C. Ryskamp, et al., 1996, p.64 (reproduced in color). New York, The Frick Collection. An Illustrated Catalogue. Vol.1, Paintings. [cat.]. 1968, pp.258-265, p.259 (reproduced).
AMICA ID: TFC_.19101098
AMICA Library Year: 1999
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Frick Collection, New York, 1999

AMICA PUBLIC RIGHTS: a) Access to the materials is granted for personal and non-commercial use. b) A full educational license for non-commercial use is available from Cartography Associates at c) Licensed users may continue their examination of additional materials provided by Cartography Associates, and d) commercial rights are available from the rights holder.

Home | Subscribe | Preview | Benefits | About | Help | Contact
Copyright © 2007 Cartography Associates.
All rights reserved.