|Courtesy of www.RembrandtPaintings.com|
While working with van Uylenburgh, Rembrandt was introduced to his close relative Saskia van Uylenburgh (1612-42). Her father had been burgomaster in the province of Friesland and was one of the founders of the
second university of the Netherlands, in Franeker in 1585. She was the youngest of eight children from a Calvinist family. Since her mother died when she was six and her father when she was 12, she had gone to live
with her older sister and her husband, who was a lawyer and town clerk. The young artist and Saskia fell in love, but met with some disapproval from her family. However, the couple became engaged in June 1633 and
in order to mark the occasion, Rembrandt drew a celebratory picture: Saskia in a Straw Hat. Next to the drawing, he wrote: 'This is a portrait of my fiancee at the age of twenty-one, three days after our
engagement.' Rembrandt's mother, whose official approval was needed for the match, also seemed to be hesitant about the relationship, as she delayed giving her consent to the marriage. However, the couple tied the knot
in July 1634, in Saskia's home province of Friesland, and then settled in Amsterdam, continuing the association with van Uylenburgh.
The match was a good one for Remrandt, the miller's son, as it raised his social status but his feelings for Saskia were genuine and it appears they had a loving, supportive and mutually affectionate relationship.