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  • Writer's pictureJulie Diana

How to Look Like a Dutch Masters Painting, Part 2

Updated: May 12

Centuries after the final brushstrokes dried, Dutch Masters portraits continue to captivate.

Lately I've been inspired by these great works of art. I've found Rembrandt van Rijn's portrait Flora to be especially intriguing.

Fellow Dutch Master Vincent van Gogh felt the same way. He applauded, "Rembrandt is so deeply mysterious that he says things for which there are no words in any language."

The painting, shown above, is a serene, floral delight. (You can find a better image of it here.)

In the portrait, Rembrandt depicted his wife Saskia as the goddess of springtime. How romantic!

Keep reading to discover how you can recreate the romance and loveliness. You'll find links for headwear, jewelry, a modest outfit, and portrait-inspired makeup.

Let's start at the top.

The headwear

In the photo above, I'm wearing a brown cotton headscarf I made, using fabric similar to this one. You can find similar, ready-made scarves here and here.

On top, I've placed a floral crown made of faux camellias. It has a flexible headband base, so it lays flat against your head.

Don't mind me, I'll just be wearing it every day for the rest of the season, along with...

The dress

This dress was a pleasant surprise!

I chose it because the tonal print echoes the the painting's brocade textures. For such an affordable price point, I wasn't expecting such a fine and breathable fabric.

It's made of a beige and green rayon-cotton blend, and has two pairs of tasseled rope ties at the neckline. After removing creases with my favorite handheld steamer, the dress drapes like a dream.

Make a rope belt

If you don't care for the dress' fullness at the waist and hips, make a matching belt.

To do this, carefully cut off the lower pair of neckline ties. Knot them together, and wear them around your waist for definition. You'll still have the upper pair of ties as a neckline closure.

You could also add a narrow stretch belt, like this one. It comes in waist sizes 21"-48". Gosh I love stretch.

The underskirt

To echo the long dresses worn in the Dutch Golden Age, I've layered with a tiered underskirt. It's 30" long, and made of eyelet cotton.

To make it ankle-length, I wore the waistband lower on my hips. For reference, I'm 5'4".

While the underskirt's description says 'hand wash only,' I've machine washed it on delicate with good results. It also took about two weeks to arrive in the mail, but was well worth the wait. Sometimes anticipation is half the fun.

The earrings

These Austrian crystal drop earrings catch and reflect light, just like in Rembrandt's portrait. I'm wearing the color 'aurora borealis.' It's a fitting name for the clear crystal's multicolor reflection.

I've been eyeing some other colors, too. The earrings come in 15 shades, including emerald green, charcoal gray, pale green, cherry red, aquamarine, and hot pink.

The layering shell

For extra coverage at the neckline, I've layered with a cotton jersey shell in the colorway 'tan.' Its warm beige color matches the dress' rope ties and bodice piping. The photo above captures the color camaraderie.

Portrait-inspired makeup

For makeup inspiration from the Dutch Golden Age, I referred to Lisa Eldridge's book Face Paint: The Story of Makeup.

According to Lisa, face powder was a popular way to create a "glistening" complexion in Rembrandt's era.

She explains, "The beauty products used to achieve this look were largely homespun [...] with recipes that included chickpeas, barley, almonds, horseradish seeds, and milk." (p. 53)

If you like powder, I recommend bareMinerals BarePro 16Hr powder foundation. Like the natural powders of the past, it contains pineapple complex and peony extract. Just a few brushstrokes of Maybelline Fit Me powder blush in shade '30 rose' yield a soft pink radiance.

If you prefer liquid makeup, create a hydrated look with Lisa's Seamless Skin liquid foundation. Then add glow-from-within cheek color with Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush in 'happy.' Apply with fingers for a sheer, blended effect.

To further emulate a Dutch Masters painting during this photoshoot, I set aside my beloved eyeliner and lash curler. I then applied just mascara, and kept the eyeshadow to a light swipe of MAC's 'soft brown.'

For a dewy, portrait-inspired finish, I splashed my skin with Lisa Eldridge's Skin and Makeup Enhancing Mist.

Lip stain is the perfect finish to a painterly look. I dabbed on Revlon Balm Stain, then blotted with single layer of tissue.


Did ancient goddesses wear shoes? We'll never know, but I'm certain that you wear them. I took the above photos barefoot (to be one with nature and springtime and all). For real life, these cream ballet flats by Vionic match beautifully with the eyelet underskirt.

The two are not quite a love match like Rembrandt and his wife Saskia, but perhaps something close?

Thank you for reading!

May you feel a sense of renewal and awakening, each and every day. Subscribe to the e-newsletter below so you don't miss out on future articles.

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