Rembrandt’s Eyes completed.

“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.”

The last line in Simon Schama’s epic book.

As Duncan Macmillan says in the Scotsman: Schama at his very best. He rises to Rembrandt’s level. In a few sentences …. he summarises how Rembrandt broke the chrysalis of classicism to release the butterfly of modern art …… The result is massive.

I’ve learned much in reading this deeply detailed book by the ‘engaged beholder’. It has given me the opportunity to reflect on the life of the great artist and his range of work. Particularly into his draughtsmanship and portraiture as he sought to ’embody’ the ‘character’ of his subjects rather than describe them. Insights that will feed into my research plans.  Thank you.

Rembrandt’s HUIS

Rembrandt huis etching chamber

I visited a range of galleries in Amsterdam recently.  The Stedelijk, Foam, Marseille Huis, Rijks Museum, Van Gogh Museum which were all a pleasure and update on my previous visits years ago. There are great opportunities to see a wide range of European Art of the highest quality and there was a regular insight and celebration of the value of Artist’s printmaking. Whether traditional etching, lithography and mezzotint, through French poster printmaking to Dutch multi colour photography from black and white negatives made in 18th C Egypt.

However I was most surprised by Rembrandt’s Huis on a city centre High Street.  The Huis he bought and early in his career to include domestic and commercial accommodation for family and clients as well as his Painting Studio, collections room, apprentice salon and ‘etching chamber’. It was also the house he had to sell when he was made bankrupt later in life.  An inventory of all his possessions was made to assess the value that could be accrued. This includes an early picture I had not seen before – old man with curly hair

This inventory has enabled the house to be brought back to its original state for his creativity. I’ve never been one for recreating historic museums, however experiencing the rooms he lived and worked in had a strangely ‘real’ feeling.  He not only painted and printed in these rooms, but slept in that box bed and looked out of that window by the front door he opened and welcomed met clients and sitters.

The experience was brought more to life by a enthusiastic guide and paint preparation and etching demonstrators. They were not dressed in 17th C clothes , but modern black aprons while presenting knowledgable demonstrations of the techniques adopted by the master.  All of which made more real the experiences, trials and tribulations captured in books and internet films I am researching to understand his portraiture and printmaking.

Pictures from the Rembrandt Huis visit.

Picture from the Amsterdam visit

Rembrandt Huis

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