Rembrandt sat down with the two subjects separately to produce their respective portraits but the two paintings have remained together ever since. The romantic pairing of these two lovers, many years after they passed away is sure to continue thanks to the financial strength of its co-owners who will likely never need to sell on either half of this significant piece.
The commission itself was for a wedding portrait, making it all the more important that these two portraits remain together in the long term. Oopjen Coppit is on the right hand side of her husband, with both portraits standing at just over a metre tall and a metre wide, essentially becoming life-size pieces.
The extraordinary price of €160 million in 2015 meant that no single art institution was comfortable in purchasing this item outright. The sensible solution was for the Rijksmuseum to continue to grow its flemish art collection by pairing up with someone else, in this case the Louvre. It is relatively unusual for institutions to share artwork on a permanent basis but has happened on some other rare occasions too.
Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit married on the 9th of June, 1633. The artwork followed a year later, meaning that perhaps the two sat for their portraits after their marriage. For many years there was some discussion and confusion over the identity of these two people, due to the death of Maerten and Oopjen later marrying again. Having been completed in the early 17th century, it would always prove tricky to confidently date the piece and identify the two from that, but this was completed relatively recently.