Do you see me? And how do you see me? Powerful emperors, flamboyant aristocrats and well-to-do citizens. Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, increasing numbers of people had themselves immortalised by the artists of the day. Remember me is about ambition, longing, loss – and how people want to be remembered.

The desire to remember and to be remembered is a very old and human need. Since antiquity men has been making portraits, and the selfie is now an indispensable part of everyday life. Somewhere in between, around 1500, the first blossoming of portraiture in Europe began.

How do you see me?

Then, as now, the sitters were keen to be presented in the most favourable manner possible. All aspects of the composition – the facial expression, symbolism, pose, background and clothing – were carefully planned out. Where the one prioritised beauty, the other focused on exuding authority. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, for example, emphatically highlighted his power around 1553 by having himself immortalised as a Roman Emperor. Remember me sheds light on how people wanted to be seen, in themes such as beauty, authority, ambition, love, family, knowledge and faith. How would you like to be remembered?

International Masterpieces

Remember me brings together portraits from museums all over Europe and the United States. Portrait of a Young Woman is a masterpiece of the Northern Renaissance, painted by Petrus Christus around 1470. This highlight of the Gemäldegalerie collection will be out on loan from the Berlin museum for the first time since 1994.

  • Museo Civico d’Arte Antica, Palazzo Madama in Turin is loaning Antonello da Messina's 1476 work Portrait of a Man.
  • The funeral monument of Isabella van Bourbon from the Antwerp Cathedral of Our Lady was made by Jan Borman the Younger and Renier van Thienen in 1475-76. This effigy will be reunited with the accompanying Pleurants, or ‘weepers’, in the Rijksmuseum (on loan from the municipality of Amsterdam).
  • Two works by Albrecht Dürer have been loaned for the exhibition: his 1508 work Portrait of an African man from the Albertina in Vienna and Portrait of a Young Woman in Prayer With Her Hair Down (1497) from the Städel Museum in Frankfurt.
  • The Kunstmuseum Basel is loaning several works, including the 1516 Double Portrait of Jakob Meyer zum Hasen and_ Dorothea Kannengießer_ by Hans Holbein the Younger.
  • The National Gallery of Art in Washington has loaned Jan Gossart’s Portrait of Jan Jacobsz Snoeck, painted around 1530.
  • Sofonisba Anguissola's Self-Portrait (ca. 1556) will be loaned from Muzeum-Zamek w Łańcucie, Łańcut in Poland.


Poet Ellen Deckwitz and presenter Simone Weimans take you back 500 years to the time when the art of portraiture first flourished. Simone tells the personal stories relating to the sitters in the portraits. Ellen reflects on memory, ambition and the thin line dividing reality and beauty.

The audio tour is available free of charge in the Rijksmuseum app. You can also rent a device with all of our multimedia tours. You can add this when booking your timed entrance ticket, or at our Multimedia Desk.


The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue Remember Me, a richly illustrated book written by Rijksmuseum curators Sara van Dijk and Matthias Ubl, with contributions from Friso Lammertse and Ilona van Tuinen.

272 pages, ISBN 9789090326500, €27,50. Available in the Rijksmuseum (web)shop and book shops.

We thank

The exhibition is made possible in part by Ammodo, the Rijksmuseum International Circle, the Maria Adriana Aalders Fonds/Rijksmuseum Fonds and the Dutch government: an indemnity grant has been provided by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands on behalf of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science.

Until 16 January 2022
Philips wing
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Opening hours

Daily from 9 to 17h


Museumstraat 1
1071 XX Amsterdam


Wheelchair access
Guide dogs allowed


Photography allowed
Free WiFi
Wheelchair accessible

All practical info

00:35 min - More than 100 Renaissance portraits, from Dürer to Sofonisba