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Free day for Bowers' Rembrandts, if you dress for access

July 12, 2009 |  8:30 am

Rembrandt Why is this man frowning?

Apparently, Rembrandt, who engraved this self-portrait in 1630, didn't foresee that the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana would be celebrating his 403rd birthday on Wednesday by offering free admission to anyone who shows up dressed as the birthday boy -- or in any other form of Renaissance period garb.

Those with doublets, tights, plumed hats, flowing gowns, halberts and helmets -- or any other leftover costume from a Shakespearean stage production or the Renaissance Faire -- can pull it out of the trunk and skip the $12 regular admission or the $9 fee for seniors and students.

But those who want to truly dress for the occasion might consider a more raggedy look. The just-opened exhibition at the Bowers -- best known for its cultural history shows of Asian, Oceanic and ancient artifacts -- celebrates the ultimate Dutch master. It's called "Sordid and Sacred: The Beggars in Rembrandt's Etchings."

So cheer up, Mynheer van Rijn.  

Ah, that's a little better.


The exhibit is scheduled to run now through Aug. 23.

For those who'd rather not go to the trouble, the Bowers has free admission the first Sunday of each month, sans dress-up requirement.

- Mike Boehm

Related story: Bowers: Goodbye Chinese warriors, hello Rembrandt

Photo: Top, "Self-Portrait, Rembrandt Frowning" (1630) by Rembrandt. Credit: Handout photo from the book "Rembrandt the Engraver" by Victoria Charles. 

Bottom, Rembrandt self-portrait (1639). Credit: Norton Simon Art Foundation