Posts Tagged ‘Rembrandt’

700 + Rembrandts on show (sort of)

July 1st, 2009

Digital reproduction of 317 known paintings, 285 etchings and more than 100 drawings of Rembrandt van Rijn go on display next week at the former Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

Ernst van de Wetering, a leading Rembrandt scholar who supervised the project, said that the exhibition, unique in its kind, will offer viewers “a walk through Rembrandt’s mind.” All works will be reproduced in their original size and shown chronologically. He argues that the reproductions have the advantage of stripping away the aura of awe viewers often have when they see an original, which hinders their assessment of the work.

If that is not enough, some have been digitally enhanced by Van de Wetering himself, hoping to restore the color and detail they had when they left Rembrandt’s studio nearly 400 years ago.

Here, one may see Van der Wetering’s point and one may miss it entirely. Perhaps it’s a matter of assuming a realistic point of view. Without splitting hairs, the exhibit is at least (or cynically, at most) a very good and very big Rembrandt unfolded art book.

Being a painter, I am pretty well trained to look at paintings, so if aura is there, I assume it is produced by the inner workings of the painting  itself and not for other reasons. And again being a painter, the virtual restoration part leaves me puzzled. I accept age and decay as well as the aging and decaying of paintings. One may reasonably suspect Rembrandt did too.

“The Complete Rembrandt, Life Size”
the former Amsterdam Stock Eschange, Amsterdam
July 5 – Sept. 7. 2009

Rembrandt’s face discovered in Jan Lievens paintings

February 3rd, 2009

Its not every day that one discovers a portrait of Rembrandt. But now, not one, but four previously unknown images of Rembrandt’s face in works by Jan Lievens have been identified by Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., curator of northern baroque painting at the National Gallery of Art.  Wheelock said he became “vaguely conscious” that it was Rembrandt’s likeness with the artist’s puffy jowls and famous bulbous nose while he was doing research for an exhibition on Lievens soon opening at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Although it is well known that Rembrandt and Lievens had shared ideals and experiences in the first years of their careers, this discovery sheds new light on the intimate side of their relationship.  According to Wheelock, it is Rembrandt who sits in the center of Lievens’  The Cardplayers (detail lower left) making it earliest known image of Rembrandt, just 17 years old. Rembrandt’s features can also be made out in Lievens’ Lute Player (detail upper left).

Although  considered in his own age a child prodigy, art  history has been less kind to Jan Lievens than Rembrandt.  During his adolescence, Lievens’ works were sought by princely patrons in The Hague and London before he reached the age twenty-five. But with the stellar rise in Rembrandt’s fame as the greatest artist of the Dutch golden age, Lievens’ own artistic reputation inexorably declined. This exhibition affords an overview of Lievens’ life and art drawing much needed attention to this neglected master. The catalogue essay argues that in many respects Lievens was the initiator of the stylistic and thematic developments that characterized both artists’ work in the late 1620s.

Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Rediscovered runs February 7 to April 26 at the Milwaukee Art Museum. See the excellent website dedicated to this spectacular exhibition.