Christian and Astrid Tümpel

‘Well worth reading’

‘An impressive accomplishment’
Art Times


‘It is laid out chronologically and discusses clearly and effectively the key works and the central events of the artist’s life … Rembrandt was, above all, a painter and etcher of scenes from the Old and New Testaments and it is in the description of his interpretation of these texts that Dr Tümpel is unrivalled among modern writers on the artist … Dr Tümpel’s book is the product of long and mature reflection on the art of Rembrandt.’
The Art Newspaper 

‘Having made Rembrandt readable again is Christian Tümpel’s essential contribution to the research of the artist’s work … He methodically destroys the myths which grew up around Rembrandt’s life, and at the same time opens up new avenues into the world of Rembrandt’s imagery.’
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

‘…Dr. Tümpel is unrivalled among modern writers on the artist.’
Christopher Brown, Director of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford


Christian Tümpel’s work on Rembrandt began over four decades ago when he received his doctorate for a study of Rembrandt’s history paintings in 1968. From 1968 to 1969 he and his wife Astrid were Visiting Fellows at the Warburg Institute in London. In 1970 he turned down the first offer of a post at New York’s Columbia University, instead he followed his calling and became a Protestant Minister in Hamburg. It was here that he established the Kunstforum Matthaus, an academy for the study of art and church history. In 1971 he received a prize from the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences for his work on Rembrandt, a decoration awarded only ever 20 years. That same year he received another invitation to become Gilderleave Professor at Columbia University.

From 1984 to 2002, Professor Tümpel held the chair of Modern Iconography, Iconology and Art History at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands. He has contributed to numerous international exhibitions and conferences (Washington, Antwerp, Berlin, Hamburg) and, together with his students, did the academic groundwork for several exhibitions on Dutch art (The Old Testament in Dutch Art, Amsterdam 1991; Jerusalem 1993; Münster 1994). His essays and books on Dutch art and Rembrandt are translated into many languages.

CHRISTIAN TÜMPEL was until 2002 Professor of the History of Art in Nijmegen/ The Netherlands. He has devoted his life to researching Rembrandt, starting in 1968 with his doctoral dissertation about Rembrandt’s historical paintings, which earned him a fellowship with his wife Astrid Tümpel at the Warburg Institute in London the following year. In 1971 he was awarded the Prize of  the Dutch Royal Academy of  Science for his studies of Rembrandt, an honour the academy only bestows every twenty years. He has contributed to the catalogues of numerous international exhibitions, most recently  to the anniversary exhibition Rembrandt – Zoektocht van een genie at the Rembrandt House in Amsterdam; and has presented papers at conferences in Washington, Sacramento,  Detroit,  Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin and Hamburg. He was involved in the curatorial preparation of major exhibitions of Dutch art and 19th century sculpture in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Nijmegen,  Jerusalem and Berlin. His essays and books on Dutch art and on Rembrandt have been translated into many languages.

ASTRID TÜMPEL received her doctorate for her study of Rembrandt’s predecessors in Amsterdam. She taught at the University of Hamburg before becoming Director of the museum in Goch. A renowned expert on Dutch art, she curated exhibitions in Sacramento and Amsterdam and has published numerous essays on art history as well as fiction and poetry.

Additional information




Published Date