Jan Six was a Dutch patrician who gained recognition for his wide interests in the arts, literature, and politics during his time. In 1654, Rembrandt van Rijn painted Six’s portrait in oil on canvas, depicting him at 36 years old in a moment of action. The painting remains in the renowned Six Collection located in Amsterdam and has been passed down the generations of Jan’s family ever since.
In addition to being an important figure of his time, Jan Six was also a patron of the arts and had several Rembrandt paintings among his collection during his lifetime. Interestingly enough, Jan’s relationship with Rembrandt was one of deep friendship and mutual respect. Their bond is most famously expressed through an intimate etching that depicts Jan reading by a window – a tribute from Rembrandt to his good friend.
Moreover, historians believe that Jan may have even inspired one of Rembrandt’s most well-known pieces – Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer. Despite this speculation, it remains clear that both artists held each other in high esteem given their artistic collaborations and personal connection throughout their careers. The portrait by Rembrandt serves as a testament to both men’s contributions to Dutch art history and provides audiences with an intimate glimpse into the life of one of its notable patrons.