A man with a large knife Wednesday slashed 10 17th-century Dutch paintings, including several by pupils of Rembrandt, a museum official said.

"It is an enormous disaster," spokesman Willem de Paus said of the incident at the Dordrechts Museum in this western city.The attacker, a 61-year-old unemployed man who was not identified in line with Dutch judicial practice, was being held by police in nearby Papendrecht. Works by Albert Cuyp, Nicolaas Maes, Ferdinand Bol, Jacobus Levecc, and Jan Victors were damaged in the attack.

"He was apparently very frustrated that he was out of work, and he wanted to vent his anger," De Paus told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Among the damaged paintings are a 1656 family group by Bol, a self-portrait from 1685 by Maes, and a conversion of Saulus done by Cuyp in 1650, according to De Paus.

The man entered the museum at about 1:45 p.m., said De Paus. He inflicted "very bad damage" to 10 paintings on display in three rooms before being spotted by a guard via a closed television circuit, the spokesman said.