"Storms and Bright Skies: Three Centuries of Dutch Landscapes" is a touring show comprising 65 works from the National Gallery of Canada. "Inner Realms: Dutch Portraits" features 17 oils, drawings, prints and watercolours on loan from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
Both will be on display, on separate floors, from Sept. 6 to Nov. 17.
Among the Rembrandts, there is a self-portrait dating from 1638, as well as a portrait of his wife, Saskia, dated 1636, said assistant curator Jennifer Cane.
Jan van Goyen, Jacob van Ruisdael, Cornelis Janssens van Ceulen and Adriaen van Ostade are among the other artists represented in the two shows.
The exhibitions mark a milestone for the gallery, which hasn't displayed works of this calibre for decades, said Cane.
"We have been seeking higher and higher calibre exhibitions over the years and have made many upgrades to our facility that have allowed us to take exhibitions such as this," she said.
The idea of complementing the National Gallery show with a range of portraits came from a desire to add a human dimension to the landscapes, said Cane.
"I though it would be interesting to show some of the people who would have existed within these landscapes — just the breadth of individuals from all walks of life and all areas of Dutch society," she said. "The idea of landscape is really created by the individuals that dwell within the landscapes."
The Burnaby gallery is situated within Deer Lake Park, a picturesque garden setting which in itself adds a kind of real-life commentary on the romantic scenes displayed on the gallery's walls, she added.
The park has "a lake and lots of wildlife and willow trees. ... It's very serene," she said.
"There's actually quite a correspondence with some of the landscapes that are in this exhibition when you look out the windows of the Burnaby Art Gallery.
"I hope the public picks up on that."
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