Modern tulip varieties similar in appearance to the tulips of the tulip mania times are called Rembrandts
The flamed and streaked bi-coloured tulips praised in the tulip mania times were affected by the “Mosaic” tulip breaking virus, spread by aphids, and are almost extinct nowadays. However, the longing for the dazzling tulips of tulip mania times, with their striking colouring of unparalleled beauty, lived on for centuries after the tulip mania was long over.
The tulip growers put incredible efforts into breeding healthy and stable tulip varieties, the appearance of which would resemble the old tulip mania tulips, and they succeeded admirably. A quite significant group of disease-free, modern tulip varieties, bearing the flames and feathers characteristic for the tulip mania blooms, have been created through careful and assiduous selection. Among them count the beautiful “Grand Perfection”, “Prinses Irene”, “Rems Favourite” and a series of other flamed bi-coloured varieties. Together they form a separate group of tulips, called Rembrandt tulips, or simply Rembrandts, after the famous Golden Age painter – Rembrandt van Rijn.
It is curious that Rembrandt, despite being one of the most prolific and significant painters of the Dutch Golden Age, has never dedicated himself to flower paintings and there is only one tulip flower featured in his works. It is obviously a precious broken tulip of the tulip mania times and it is crowning, like a true jewel and a queen among the flowers, the head of Flora – the goddess of spring and fertility, on the portrait “Flora”, featuring Rembrandt’s beloved wife Saskia as the Roman deity.
Photo credit for Rembrandt’s painting “Flora”: The State Hermitage Museum