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Oval shaped palette of Rembrandt's Studio. The palettes in Rembrandt's time were small. There are several reasons for this. The pigments had different qualities that were not compatible, because of drying time, adhesion or transparancy versus opacity. Nowadays the paint out of tubes are of similar consistency and can all be put on one great palette. Another important reason was an economical one: paint was prepared each day. Since fast drying oils were used paint could not be kept for very long. Also, the artist worked in segments and prepared for each segment a different palette. For instance the background, the clothes and the skin.
In the seventeenth century painters only had a limited number of pigments at their disposal. Rembrandt used fifteen pigments throughout his career. The prepared paint lies in blobs on the upper edge of the palette, ranging from light to dark. The thumb goes through the hole and the palette rests on the wrist and forearm.
The Rembrandt palette is made of wood (birch plywood), coloured and varnished. The name and dates are lasered in the wood on one side. The other side is for mixing the paints. It measures 30 x 12.5 cm and is 3 mm thick.