Rembrandts boedelafstand: Een institutionele en politieke benadering

Translated title of the contribution: Rembrandt's insolvency: An institutional and political approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This contribution studies the cessio bonorum of painter Rembrandt van Rhijn in relation to the relevant rules and institutions of Amsterdam. In the Rembrandt case the procedural rules on the cessio bonorum were followed to a large extend. In regard to the beweysinge, a few weeks before the application for the cessio, it seems more convincing that it should be interpreted as a promise than as a conveyance of the house he owned. This new perspective on the beweysinge, however, does not alter the fact that it seems likely that there was a conflict between the Orphans Chamber (serving the interests of Titus) and the Insolvency Chamber (serving the interests of the creditors, and among them especially the former burgomaster Cornelis Witsen). Arguments for this are derived from: 1) the new bylaw issued by the Orphans Chamber shortly after Rembrandt’s application for the cessio, 2) the appointment of the renowned lawyer Louis Crayers as guardian of Titus (instead of Jan Verwout), and 3) the position of Titus’ preferential claim in the concursus creditorum. Crenshaw has stated that this conflict was decided by the personal influence of Cornelis Witsen. This contribution defends that Witsen only could enforce the sale of the house because of the institutional and political power structures within the city government. Witsen belonged to the powerful reigning faction of Cornelis de Graeff, whereas the majority of the officials in the Orphans Chamber belonged to the ‘political opposition’. In the end it was especially Witsen who profited from the sale (at the expense of Titus).
Translated title of the contributionRembrandt's insolvency: An institutional and political approach
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)72-89
Number of pages18
JournalPro Memorie : Bijdragen tot de rechtsgeschiedenis der Nederlanden
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Rembrandt
  • Insolvency
  • Amsterdam
  • Institutional history
  • Political history
  • Legal History


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