In the year 1654, a young and flagrantly pregnant woman named Hendrickje Stoffels was judged and found guilty by the council of the Reformed Church in Amsterdam.

She confessed to ‘having fornicated with the painter Rembrandt,’ and admitted to sharing his bed without being married, ‘like a whore,’ of in a more literal translation, ‘committing whoredom.’

The council punished her by obliging her to repent and do penance and by permanently excluding her from the table of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rembrandt was not found guilty, perhaps because the jury had in mind the episode of Eve and the apple. But the scandal caused the price of his work to tumble and he had to declare bankruptcy.

The master of chiaroscuro, who revealed light born of darkness, spent his final years in the shadows. He lost his house and his paintings. He was buried in a rented grave.

stem: eduardo galeano
perspectief: a capsule history of the human race, in some 600 short entries, he travels from prehistory to the present, from the impressionistic to the brutally, precisely documented
titel: hendrickje
bron: mirrors, stories of almost everyone (2009, transl. mark fried)
mopw: meerstemmige encyclopedie / appel