(The Hague) Preserved for nearly 200 years in a private collection, two small portraits signed by the 17th-century Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn were exhibited Wednesday in Amsterdam, thanks to a long-term loan to the National Museum of Art and history of the Netherlands.

The Rijksmuseum said the portraits of Jan Willemsz van der Pluym and his wife Jaapgen “had disappeared for almost two centuries, before resurfacing two years ago”.

The two paintings, believed to be the last known pair of private portraits by Rembrandt, were sold at auction earlier this year and then placed on long-term loan at the Rijksmuseum by the family of wealthy Dutch businessman Henry Holterman, a indicated the national museum.

“Given my close relationship with the museum and the fact that the team of experts has researched these portraits for several years, I believe these works have a place in the museum,” Mr. Holterman explained in a statement.

The Rijksmuseum said that due to their small size and “dynamic, sketchy style”, the portraits were likely painted by Rembrandt as a favor to the couple, who had close ties with his family since their son Dominicus had married the painter’s cousin, Cornelia Cornelisdr van Suytbroek.

Rijksmuseum director Taco Dibbits welcomed the loan of these portraits which “will bring visitors closer to Rembrandt’s family circle.”

Museum researchers established that Rembrandt had indeed painted these portraits, two ovals that measure approximately 20 x 16.5 cm, using CT scanning and pigment analysis.