The RembrandtLAB is an initiative by Museum De Lakenhal, Museum Het Rembrandthuis, Leiden Marketing and Cultuurfonds, who jointly commissioned designers Maarten Kolk and Guus Kusters to conduct this study.

The results of their research — which began in November 2015 — are being presented in a series of exhibitions. The first opened in March 2016 in the Rembrandt Lokaal in Leiden, then travelled to the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam in June. ‘Constructing Colours’ will be seen during Dutch Design Week in Kazerne, Eindhoven, where the research into textiles after the legacy of Rembrandt van Rijn will be shown for the first time.

As part of RembrandtLAB 2016, designers Maarten Kolk and Guus Kusters (Studio Maarten Kolk & Guus Kusters) spent a year meticulously researching and analysing Rembrandt’s raw materials, paint layering and recipes, and reconstructing them with alternative materials, techniques and supports in the Europees Keramisch Werk Centrum and TextielLab in Tilburg.

Working from some of Rembrandt’s paintings, they demonstrate how the use of colour and pigments, the raw materials, recipes and colour perception can be translated to other supports, materials and techniques. Past and present are linked.

“We believe that colour is material with which you can build and design. Rembrandt was a past master in this. He knew exactly how to achieve the colour he wanted. While his direct brushstroke sometimes seems to conceal this, we believe that it is actually here that Rembrandt reveals his greatest secret—it was his knowledge, control and focus on material which gave him the scope to work like this and make colour speak in an unprecedented way. This approach is as relevant today as it was in the seventeenth century.”

Kolk and Kusters

Maarten Kolk (1980) and Guus Kusters (1979) have been working together since 2009. They both graduated with honours from the Design Academy Eindhoven. They have developed projects autonomously, designed exhibitions, and act as curators.

The poetry they find in nature, history, colours and landscapes serves as the foundation of their work. They translate it into objects, uses of materials, exhibitions and innovative production methods.

RembrandtLAB was made possible thanks in part to the financial contributions of

  • Stimuleringsfonds creatieve industrie
  • Mondriaan Fonds
  • Cultuurfonds Leiden

The launch of the RembrandtLAB exhibition will take place in a unique historic location: the Rembrandt Lokaal on Langebrug in Leiden. It was here that Rembrandt van Rijn received his first painting lessons in painting from Jacob van Swanenburgh in 1619. From June 3rd the exhibition will be on view at Museum Het Rembrandthuis, the historic building where Rembrandt lived and worked between 1639 and 1658.

Last year, Centrummanagement Leiden discovered that the Rembrandt Lokaal would become vacant. In view of the unique possibilities this offered for telling Rembrandt’s story in this location and thus reinforcing the connection of value and significance between this painter and the city of Leiden, the decision was taken to rent the premises. The RembrandtLAB is a first wonderful chance to exhibit Rembrandt’s works and methods in the city where he grew up and learned his art. The exhibition relocates to a venue of great importance in Rembrandt’s biography: his former home and workshop at the Jodenbreestraat in Amsterdam, currently Museum Het Rembrandthuis. Here, the artist painted his masterpieces, trained his pupils and lived with his family.

Information & Contact

The RembrandtLAB exhibition at Museum Het Rembrandthuis is closed. For questions you can contact us by e-mail.

Contact information



The RembrandtLAB is an initiative of

  • Museum de Lakenhal
  • Leiden stadvanontdekkingen
  • Cultuurfonds Leiden
  • Het Rembrandthuisrijksmuseum-logo-combined