Tattoo artists ink masterpieces at Rembrandt house

Visitors to the museum of Rembrandt’s house in Amsterdam will have the chance to get their own permanent work by the 17th century master this week.

But they should expect to have more skin in the game than most art lovers, as the Schiffmacher and Veldhoen team of tattoo artists have set up their studio in the Dutch painter’s former home for a week.

They are offering visitors the chance to have their very own work by Rembrandt (1606-1669) inked on their skin, until Sunday, at what they call the “Poor Man’s Rembrandt project”.

“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to bring what was the lowbrow into the highbrow world — or the other way around!” Dutch tattoo artist Henk Schiffmacher said.

The 71-year-old, known as “Hanky Panky”, says he has tattooed rock royalty during his illustrious career, including band members from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, and Motorhead.

Lilian Ramcharan, the first to get her tattoo, smiles as he inks her shoulder blade with a famous drawing of a 17th century elephant, following one of Rembrandt’s works.

The Hansken elephant, now carried by Lilian, had travelled through the fairs and gardens of Europe and been painted by Rembrandt in Amsterdam. There are also windmills, self-portraits, characters from works and even the signature of the painter of the Night Watch.

“I felt very honoured… to be the first one and also by Henk himself,” says Ramcharan, 36.

Around 90 people have made appointments for tattoos, which cost between 100 and 250 euros and the museum also offers walk-in time slots in the Rembrandthuis, where the artist and his students worked.

“The end result is a work of art that you carry with you for life,” according to the museum.

“It’s the peak of your career you could almost say,” adds tattoo artist Tycho Veldhoen.

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© Agence France-Presse

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