This internationally acclaimed novel is the fictional monologue of Hendrickje Stoffels, Rembrandt's last mistress.
It combines all the qualities of a naturalist tragedy, historical novel and exposition of seventeenth-century Dutch society.
Matton has researched not only Rembrandt's life and works, but also contemporary Amsterdam and the Black Death to provide an intriguing, intimate and privileged view into the painter's life. Above all, this is Hendrickje's story. A sensitive innocent, she escapes the harsh realities of her garrison home-town to become a servant in Rembrandt's household.
She soon becomes his lover and closest confidante, filling the void in his life resulting from the death of his wife and two of their children. 'Reborn at twenty' in Rembrandt's studio, enlightened by the positive values of beauty, truth, love and art, Hendrickje is fated to discover the hypocrisy and fickleness of Amsterdam society, which ostracises her and precipitates Rembrandt's final collapse. In a serene, sensuous style of writing, Matton paints a powerful fictional portrait of this impassioned relationship in the fascinating context of a turbulent era of Dutch history.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 208 pages
- Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 04/07/2002
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781841953229