Rembrandt van Rijn, Dutch, 1606-1669
Title: Interior with Figures
Date: c.1628
Medium: Oil on wood panel
Dimensions:
21 x 27 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 1896
Object Number: NGI.439
DescriptionRembrandt’s authorship of this painting was first suggested more than a century ago, but a definite attribution to him was only confirmed at the end of 2001. Dating to Rembrandt’s time in Leiden, it is one of the few known genre scenes by the artist. Its subject, however, is difficult to determine. The painting was traditionally thought to depict la main chaude, a parlour game that revolved around a person being smacked from behind and having to identify the person who did it. However, Rembrandt’s enigmatic picture is more likely to depict a group of men in the middle of some sort of confrontation. Realising that he has made a mistake, the central figure looks over his shoulder with a blend of fear and shame. The two men behind the central figure have lined up shoulder to shoulder to take a firm stance against him. The large eyes and the open mouth of the figure behind the table on the left convey his shock. The contours of the silhouetted figure suggest astonishment at what is happening in front of him.

March 2016
ProvenancePurchased, Ayerst Hooker Buttery, London, 1896
Exhibition HistoryMasterpieces from the National Gallery of Ireland, National Gallery, London, 1985

The Mystery of the Young Rembrandt, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, Kassel, 3 November 2001 - 27 January 2002; Museum het Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, 20 February - 26 May 2002

Rembrandt - Paintings, Drawings, Etchings, Albertina, Vienna, 26 March - 27 June 2004

Rembrandt, Genie auf der Suche, Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin, 4 August - 5 November 2006

Shadows, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 10 February - 17 May 2009

Shades of Grey: Painting without Colour, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 22 June - 29 September 2013

Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, 28 October 2014 - 15 February 2015
Label TextDating to Rembrandt’s time in Leiden, this is one of the few known genre scenes by the artist. The painting was traditionally thought to depict la main chaude, a parlour game that involved a person, who was smacked from behind, being asked to identify the person who did it. Rembrandt’s enigmatic painting, however, is more likely to depict a confrontation. Realising that he has made a mistake, the central figure looks over his shoulder in a blend of fear and shame. The two men behind him have lined up shoulder to shoulder to take a firm stance against him.