Rembrandt self-portrait exhibition in England


This video says about itself:

20 January 2016

I’m down at the Ulster Museum to see Rembrandt‘s final self portrait before he died aged 63. You could say that these self portraits were the selfies of his day!

This painting represents one of his finest works. It is on a tour of the outer reaches of the UK so that folk unable to travel to London’s National Gallery might have an opportunity to see it. It remains at the Ulster Museum until early February.

Rembrandt (1606–1669) is perhaps the best-loved and most admired painter of the seventeenth century. Born in Leiden, he spent most of his life in Amsterdam, where he worked for a wide circle of wealthy and influential patrons. Rembrandt’s reputation was built on his skill in producing ambitious and dazzling biblical scenes, history paintings and portraits, yet it is through a remarkable series of self-portraits that we feel closest to the painter’s inner thoughts and character.

Rembrandt produced some 80 self-portraits – paintings, drawings and prints- over the course of his 40-year career. No artist before Rembrandt, and only a very few since, have made self-portraiture such a significant part of their life’s work. Self Portrait at the Age of 63, painted in the final year of the artist’s life, is among the very last works he finished. It is a work of sheer virtuosity: proof, if ever it were needed, that with maturity his talent had only become all the more profound.

Self Portrait At The Age Of 63, normally on show at the National Gallery in London, will be the main attraction in a new exhibition at the Ulster Museum.

Anne Stewart, curator of fine art with National Museums Northern Ireland, said: ” One of his most famous self-portraits, this incredible work of art is considered one of his most important and poignant works.

“There is an intensity and pride about the painting, as well as deep pain and sadness. There is a strong sense that this was a self-portrait by someone who knew he was close to the end of his life.”

Some of the Ulster Museum’s own collection of old masters, Dutch paintings from the 17th century will also be on display, including works by Salomon van Ruysdael, Jan Symonsz Pynas, Jan van der Heyden and Nicolaes Maes.

Belfast is the first stop on the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour which aims to bring some of the world’s most famous paintings to a wider audience.

By Philip Norton in Britain:

Facing up to questions of mortality

Saturday 9th April 2016

PHILIP NORTON recommends an intriguing exhibition of a Rembrandt painting

Rembrandt: Self-portrait at the Age of 63
Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal
5/5

VISITING this exhibition is quite the opposite of the dreaded school trip to an art gallery.

No traipsing through room after room of dark brown paintings with ropes to dent curiosity and a monotony of gilt frames captive under spotlights. Just a single picture, in a darkened room, the hessian walls painted with layers of midnight-blue emulsion.

A Rembrandt self-portrait is the last of three paintings to be chosen from the National Gallery’s collection for a mini “masterpiece” tour of the provinces. It began three years ago with Manet’s Execution of Maximilian, followed in 2015 by a Venetian landscape by Canaletto.

The greatest impact of this precisely measured — and privately sponsored — gesture of generosity is the sharp focus lent to the chosen paintings. Seeing the painting alone brings to mind the just-completed work resting on Rembrandt’s easel.

Its restoration of 1967 is still quite evident — there are no layers of smoke and dirt to peer through.

Completed in 1669 it was the last of nearly 40 self-portraits. Much had happened since the round-faced young man of 22 turned into the more determined face of just a year later. By 1634, the painter is clearly enjoying his status with flamboyant velvet beret and a Three Musketeers’ moustache.

This is perhaps Rembrandt’s last carefree self-portrait as by the age of 34, although clearly increasing in stature and painterly confidence, he presents an internalised figure.

Mortality has perhaps become the dominant subject of inquiry.

By the time of this final portrait he was 63 and much has been said about his world-weary look.

It’s true he had suffered much loss. Only his fourth child Titus survived into adulthood. Three previous children were lost to infant illness and their mother Saskia had died from tuberculosis in 1642.

Titus, the subject of a number of Rembrandt’s paintings, was through a complicated arrangement the owner of a company employing Rembrandt. He also died a few months before this self-portrait was completed.

The fatigue of a man who lived beyond his means is evident and it’s true that in 1656 he was forced to sell his prized collection of antiquities to side-step bankruptcy. By 1660, nine years before this last portrait, his house — today the Rembrandt museum in Amsterdam — went too and even his printing press.

These events, until quite recently, shaped our view of the picture. It was thought Rembrandt died in poverty with barely enough money for food and so this painting was seen almost entirely as the reflection of a ruined man.

But it was not the case at all. Historians have since shown he died having built up a second smaller but still significant collection of antiquities and master drawings, enough to fill three rooms of his house. He was never forgotten in his lifetime but was always working and selling pictures.

What was perceived as the look of a ruined man is clearly more a case of acceptance and resignation.

The information panel shows the X-rayed canvas revealing an earlier version in which Rembrandt presented himself in the white beret of the painters studio holding paint brushes.

He had portrayed himself this way before and perhaps most telling, in this final version, is his decision to remove the props.

Rembrandt is no longer the salesman furthering his prospects but a quietly balanced image brimming with the shadows of past certainties. It’s the sort of painting WB Yeats called “the right twigs for an eagle’s nest.”

Runs until May 15, opening times: abbothall.org.uk, then at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, May 21-July 17, opening times: bristolmuseums.org.uk.

Rembrandt exhibition in Amsterdam, and also online


This Dutch video is about the ‘Late Rembrandt’ exhibition in Amsterdam; also visible on the Internet.

From the Rijksmuseum site in the Netherlands:

A once-in-a lifetime exhibition

Discover ‘Late Rembrandt’ online

The Rijksmuseum is holding a truly impressive retrospective of Rembrandt’s later works until 17 May 2015. Since everyone should have the chance to experience this, KPN, the main sponsor for the Rijksmuseum and this exhibition, is making it possible to discover this spectacular exhibition online – wherever and whenever you want. Join the guided tours given by Dutch celebrities.

Watch the online tours here.

Rembrandt, new Internet site


This video says about itself:

The complete life of the painter Rembrandt van Rijn

14 July 2014

A documentary which unlocks Rembrandt to a large public. Trough his documentary we travel for 53 minutes together with Rembrandt in a geographical reconstruction of his life. The documentary shows beautiful pictures of which Rembrandt has drawn his inspiration. A lot of the buildings from Rembrandt`s days still exist. Trough modern digital techniques we change, where possible, the current image into the painting that the artist has made for over 400 years ago or into old pictures of those times.

From the Rembench site in the Netherlands:

A Digital Workbench for Rembrandt Research

RemBench is an integrated online work environment that enables research about the life and works of Rembrandt van Rijn. We brought together four existing databases and disclosed them through one search interface. Our target groups are historians, art historians and other humanities scholars and students.

The four databases that have been integrated by RemBench are:

RemBench is funded as part of the CLARIN-NL programme and was developed by Huygens ING in collaboration with Radboud University Nijmegen and RKD. It is a demo application, intended to serve as an example of the possibilities of digitized historical data. The data reside in their original databases; RemBench provides access to them.

For any questions about RemBench, you can contact Suzan Verberne, s.verberne@let.ru.nl

For a short introduction to RemBench see this instructional video.

That video is here (scroll down).

There is also another video, this one:

That video says about itself:

12 June 2014

An example of a user interacting with RemBench, an integrated working environment for Rembrandt research.

Rembrandt’s birthday and music


This video from the Netherlands, with English subtitles, says about itself:

Teaser to the exhibition Frans Hals: Eye to eye with Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian. The exhibition will run from March 22, 2013 – July 28, 2013.

Rembrandt was a peculiar artist, compared to his seventeenth century colleagues.

Unlike, eg, Rubens, he lived in the rebellious northern Low Countries republic; not under a monarchy like in most of Europe then. That influenced which subjects he painted, as this blog has explained before.

Rembrandt did not only differ from artists living outside the Dutch republic like Rubens; he differed from his Dutch contemporaries as well.

Five percent of Rembrandt’s works were scenes from daily life and landscapes. Far less than in many other seventeenth century Dutch painters. Scenes from daily life, or “genre art“, were popular in the Dutch bourgeois art market. Many painters, like Johannes Vermeer and Jan Steen, specialized in them.

Landscape painting may have become popular, as the Dutch Republic was one of the most densely populated and, pre machine, industrialized areas of Europe, creating a market for painted idyllic counterweights.

Some Dutch seventeenth century landscape painters specialized in special types of landscapes, like frozen canals and rivers in winter.

Though Rembrandt was born close to the Rhine river, where, as we know from other painters, in many winters, usually more severe in the seventeenth century than now, many citizens of Leiden came for skating, he seems to not have liked winter and skating.

As of all his paintings, only one is a winter scene.

Other Dutch artists painted ships at sea. Rembrandt never did, as far as I know.

This video is called Rembrandt’s Timeline.

Very differently from colleagues like Jan Steen and Frans Hals, Rembrandt also never depicted a lute in his work, said lute player Wouter Lucassen during the celebration of Rembrandt’s birthday on 14 July.

Wouter participated in the celebration in a show called The Rembrandt Living Jukebox. The audience could ask which one of ten songs from Rembrandt’s seventeenth century should be played. To perform the songs there were three instruments: a lute, a theorbo, and singer Henriëtte van Rijn’s soprano voice. Henriëtte van Rijn used to sing in the Barbarella’s.

The songs were by Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, Constantijn Huygens, Joost van den Vondel and Adriaen Valerius. Especially Valerius’ songs mocked the Spanish monarchy and its Roman Catholic state religion, against which the young Dutch republic revolted.

Wouter Lucassen learned his lute playing from Willem Mook, who played at the 2012 Rembrandt birthday celebration.

Rembrandt, musical allegory

In 1626, Rembrandt did make a painting, called Musical Allegory by later art historians. It depicted a viola da gamba and a harp, but, again, not a lute.

Just before midnight, participants in the celebration went to the bust of Rembrandt, not far from Haagplein 4 building. Precisely at midnight, a wreath was hung around the bust’s neck. Contrary to last year’s celebration, I did not hurt my knee.

Was Rembrandt inspired by Hull? The Dutch master’s Humberside connection: here.

Rembrandt, portraits and theatre


The celebration of Rembrandt’s birthday continued after the artists participating in the contest had been awarded their prizes.

There was a theatre play. It was a parody of a Dutch TV show, in which art experts discuss objects brought by people who discovered them on attics etc. In the second act, Rembrandt himself came with a self-portrait. The TV art “expert” did not recognize it as a Rembrandt, and thought it might be worth 100 euro.

Cornelis Claeszoon Anslo and Aeltje Schouten, by Rembrandt

Then, there was a lecture by art historian Els de Baan about portraits in the age of Rembrandt. On many of these portraits, especially women have handkerchief-like pieces of cloth in their hands. These were not handkerchiefs for wiping one’s nose; they were more like status symbols.

Rembrandt’s birthday, 2013 artists’ prizes


This video is called (1/4) RembrandtPrivate life of a Masterpiece (the Night Watch painting).

And here are the sequels.

After her introduction at the celebration of Rembrandt’s birthday, art historian Lisette LeBlanc had not finished yet.

Her next task was to announce which artists had won prizes in the painting contest, part of the celebration.

The theme of the contest based itself on sixteenth century author about art Karel van Mander. Van Mander wrote there were two ways of painting: broad-brush, or with extreme attention to detail. Rembrandt could combine both well.

48 works of art participated in the contest.

A special prize went to Wim Kuin and Gideon Roggeveen for an installation.

Then, the second prize. It consisted of the right to have a solo exhibition in Diana Lepelaar gallery, and a book about Rembrandt. It went to Nicolette Benard, for her painting about pearls.

The first prize was for Els Hoonhout, for her Thee Roos. It was the right to have a solo exhibition in Diana Lepelaar gallery, a book about Rembrandt, and 500 euro.