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Rembrandt and his Circle
Insights and Discoveries
Edited by Stephanie S. Dickey
Amsterdam University Press, 2018
This collection brings together art historians, museum professionals, conservators, and conservation scientists whose work involves Rembrandt van Rijn and associated artists such as Gerrit Dou, Jan Lievens, and Ferdinand Bol. The range of subjects considered is wide: from the presentation of convincing evidence that Rembrandt and his contemporary Frans Hals rubbed elbows in the Amsterdam workshop of Hendrick Uylenburgh to critical reassessments of the role of printmaking in Rembrandt's studio, his competition with Lievens as a landscape painter, his reputation as a collector, and much more. Developed from a series of international conferences devoted to charting new directions in Rembrandt research, these essays illuminate the current state of Rembrandt studies and suggest avenues for future inquiry."Skilfully chosen and edited by Stephanie Dickey, these papers were presented at the highly successful conferences on Rembrandt and his pupils held at Herstmonceaux Castle in recent years. This is cutting-edge Rembrandt scholarship full of valuable insights and new discoveries." -- Christopher Brown, Professor of Netherlandish Art, University of Oxford"[This book] contains a wealth of fresh and lucidly argued insights, not only into Rembrandt's art, thinking and practice: notably, a significant place is reserved for such artists as Jan Lievens, Ferdinand Bol, Gerrit Dou, Johannes van Vliet and, unexpectedly, Frans Hals. In these thoughtful reflections on the artist and his milieu, the reader will find many generally accepted notions critically revised." - Eric Jan Sluijter, emeritus professor of Art History at the University of Amsterdam
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Rembrandt and the Female Nude
Eric van Sluijter
Amsterdam University Press, 2007

Rembrandt’s extraordinary paintings of female nudes—Andromeda,Susanna, Diana and her Nymphs, Danaë, Bathsheba—as well as his etchings of nude women, have fascinated many generations of art lovers and art historians. But they also elicited vehement criticism when first shown, described as against-the-grain, anticlassical—even ugly and unpleasant. However, Rembrandt chose conventional subjects, kept close to time-honored pictorial schemes, and was well aware of the high prestige accorded to the depiction of the naked female body. Why, then, do these works deviate so radically from the depictions of nude women by other artists? To answer this question Eric Jan Sluijter, in Rembrandt and the Female Nude, examines Rembrandt’s paintings and etchings against the background of established pictorial traditions in the Netherlands and Italy. Exploring Rembrandt’s intense dialogue with the works of predecessors and peers, Sluijter demonstrates that, more than any other artist, Rembrandt set out to incite the greatest possible empathy in the viewer, an approach that had far-reaching consequences for the moral and erotic implications of the subjects Rembrandt chose to depict.

            In this richly illustrated study, Sluijter presents an innovative approach to Rembrandt’s views on the art of painting, his attitude towards antiquity and Italian art of the Renaissance, his sustained rivalry with the works of other artists, his handling of the moral and erotic issues inherent in subjects with female nudes, and the nature of his artistic choices.  

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Rembrandt's Enterprise
The Studio and the Market
Svetlana Alpers
University of Chicago Press, 1990
"Singularly interesting and stimulating. . . . A passionate and original work of scholarship."—Richard Wollheim, Times Literary Supplement

"With the publication [of Rembrandt's Enterprise], Svetlana Alpers has firmly established herself in the front ranks of art historians at work today. . . . The book is not a long one. Yet, there is more perceptive scholarship packed into its four chapters than is typically found in a whole shelf of the more common outpourings of academic writers. Rembrandt's Enterprise is less a book of archival discoveries than of fresh interpretation of the revered artist and his milieu. . . . Alpers makes us see how Rembrandt's complex and enormously popular art has embedded itself in our ways of thinking about who we are and how we live, even in the late 20th century."—Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Herald Examiner
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Rembrandt's Jews
Steven Nadler
University of Chicago Press, 2004
There is a popular and romantic myth about Rembrandt and the Jewish people. One of history's greatest artists, we are often told, had a special affinity for Judaism. With so many of Rembrandt's works devoted to stories of the Hebrew Bible, and with his apparent penchant for Jewish themes and the sympathetic portrayal of Jewish faces, it is no wonder that the myth has endured for centuries.

Rembrandt's Jews puts this myth to the test as it examines both the legend and the reality of Rembrandt's relationship to Jews and Judaism. In his elegantly written and engrossing tour of Jewish Amsterdam—which begins in 1653 as workers are repairing Rembrandt's Portuguese-Jewish neighbor's house and completely disrupting the artist's life and livelihood—Steven Nadler tells us the stories of the artist's portraits of Jewish sitters, of his mundane and often contentious dealings with his neighbors in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam, and of the tolerant setting that city provided for Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews fleeing persecution in other parts of Europe. As Nadler shows, Rembrandt was only one of a number of prominent seventeenth-century Dutch painters and draftsmen who found inspiration in Jewish subjects. Looking at other artists, such as the landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael and Emmanuel de Witte, a celebrated painter of architectural interiors, Nadler is able to build a deep and complex account of the remarkable relationship between Dutch and Jewish cultures in the period, evidenced in the dispassionate, even ordinary ways in which Jews and their religion are represented—far from the demonization and grotesque caricatures, the iconography of the outsider, so often found in depictions of Jews during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Through his close look at paintings, etchings, and drawings; in his discussion of intellectual and social life during the Dutch Golden Age; and even through his own travels in pursuit of his subject, Nadler takes the reader through Jewish Amsterdam then and now—a trip that, under ever-threatening Dutch skies, is full of colorful and eccentric personalities, fiery debates, and magnificent art.
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Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits
Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.
University of Chicago Press, 2005
One of the most fascinating aspects of Rembrandt's extraordinary artistic career is his suite of brooding half-length portraits of religious figures from the late 1650s and early 1660s. Painted during a difficult time in the artist's life—when he no longer enjoyed a ready market for his works and may have turned to his deep religious convictions for solace—these images are among the most evocative Rembrandt created. For years scholars have debated whether these paintings were intended as a series, yet until now these works have, unbelievably, never been shown together.

An exhibition by the National Gallery of Art and this accompanying catalog assemble seventeen of the paintings for the first time, finally giving the powerful images their due. Many of these subtle and wondrous paintings have been identified as images of apostles and evangelists, but among them are also representations of Christ, the Virgin, and still-unidentified saints and monks. In Rembrandt's typical fashion, the men and women in these portraits peer out of the dark recesses of dimly lit interiors as though burdened by the weight of their spiritual and emotional concerns. Yet recent archival research has raised questions about their attribution, the relationships among the paintings, and, in a broader sense, Rembrandt's life and career—issues addressed by the contributors to this volume. With its lavish color images and state-of-the-field research, Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits will make a profound contribution to the understanding of this unique and provocative body of work.
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Rembrandt's Reading
The Artist's Bookshelf of Ancient Poetry and History
Amy Golahny
Amsterdam University Press, 2003
Although Rembrandt's study of the Bible has long been recognized as intense, his interest in secular literature has been relatively neglected. Yet Philips Angel (1641) praised Rembrandt for "diligently seeking out the knowledge of histories from old musty books." Amy Golahny elaborates on this observation, reconstructing Rembrandt's library on the evidence of the 1656 inventory and discerning anew how Rembrandt's reading of histories contributed to his creative process. Golahny places Rembrandt in the learned vernacular culture of seventeenth-century Holland and shows the painter to have been a pragmatic reader whose attention to historical texts strengthened his early rivalry with Rubens for visual drama and narrative erudition.
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The Rise of the Cult of Rembrandt
Reinventing an Old Master in Nineteenth-Century France
Alison McQueen
Amsterdam University Press, 2003
Rembrandt's life and art had an almost mythic resonance in nineteenth-century France with artists, critics, and collectors alike using his artistic persona both as a benchmark and as justification for their own goals. This first in-depth study of the traditional critical reception of Rembrandt reveals the preoccupation with his perceived "authenticity," "naturalism," and "naiveté," demonstrating how the artist became an ancestral figure, a talisman with whom others aligned themselves to increase the value of their own work. And in a concluding chapter, the author looks at the play Rembrandt, staged in Paris in 1898, whose production and advertising are a testament to the enduring power of the artist's myth.
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