Rembrandt: The Painter at Work

Overview


Rembrandt's intriguing painting technique stirred the imaginations of art lovers during his lifetime and has done so ever since. In this book, now revised, updated, and with a new foreword by the author, Rembrandt's pictorial intentions and the variety of materials and techniques he applied to create his fascinating effects are unraveled in depth. At the same time, this "archaeology" of Rembrandt's paintings yields information on many other levels and offers a view of Rembrandt's daily practice and artistic ...
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Overview


Rembrandt's intriguing painting technique stirred the imaginations of art lovers during his lifetime and has done so ever since. In this book, now revised, updated, and with a new foreword by the author, Rembrandt's pictorial intentions and the variety of materials and techniques he applied to create his fascinating effects are unraveled in depth. At the same time, this "archaeology" of Rembrandt's paintings yields information on many other levels and offers a view of Rembrandt's daily practice and artistic considerations while simultaneously providing a more dimensional image of the artist.

Copub: Amsterdam University Press

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Editorial Reviews

History Wire

“Art lovers from genuine aficionados to weekend museum-goers will find plenty to attract them in this updated reprint.”
Library Journal
Van de Wetering's approach to Rembrandt's painting eschews traditional stylistic analysis and iconographic explication in favor of examining the artist's materials and methods of painting. This technical approach is neatly conjoined with an appreciation of the artistic theory that affected the master's manner. The careful exfoliating of data derived from the laboratory about panels, canvases, underpainting, colors, binders, varnishes, and so forth, along with a subtle exploitation of documentary sources, suggests a useful and fresh approaches to Rembrandtian problems. While a radical new understanding of the master's art does not emerge from this study, the Rembrandt student will be disabused of conventional notions about his painting methods, pictorial construction, use of drawing, and likely original appearance. Advanced art history and museum libraries will need to acquire this important addition to the literature.Robert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York
Julian Bell
...[A] collection of papers composed over twenty years, coming from various angles at the painter's practice...
London Review of Books
Christopher Brown
This is a very rich book, a deeply felt analysis of an artist whom the author knows better than almost any other living scholar.
Times Literary Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520258846
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 4/6/2009
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 354
  • Sales rank: 722,976
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Ernst van de Wetering is Professor Emeritus of Art History at the University of Amsterdam. He has published extensively on Rembrandt and historical painting techniques, as well as in the field of theory and ethics of conservation and restoration.
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Table of Contents

Preface X
Acknowledgements XIII
I Introduction: Rembrandt--an Alchemist? 2
Workshop Secrets 6
The Self-Supporting Studio? 8
II Painting Materials and Working Methods of the Young Rembrandt 10
The Support 11
The Ground 17
The First Sketch, the Monochrome Underpainting and the First Lay-in of Colour 23
The 'Working-up' 32
III Lost Drawings and the Use of Erasable Drawing Boards and 'Tafeletten' 46
Lost Drawing Excrcises 48
'Tavolette' 53
Drawing Tablets in Seventeenth-Century Prints, a False Lead? 58
'Tafeletten' and 'Tablets a Papier' 60
Surviving Dutch 'Tafeletten' 62
IV The Creation of the Pictorial Idea 74
On the Function of Drawings 75
The Painting Contest 81
Rembrandt's Studio Scene and its Art-Theoretical Statement 87
V The Canvas Support 90
Introduction 91
Radiographs as a Means of Studying the Canvas 93
Historic Sources on the Nature and Origin of Canvas Used by Painters 95
Thread Density 96
Problems in Determining the Warp Direction 97
Thread Density and Weave Characteristics of Canvases by or Attributed to Rembrandt 100
Interpreting Cusping 111
Strip Widths and Painting Formats 123
Some Remarks on the Grounds of Rembrandt's Canvases 129
VI The Palette; on the Relationship between Style and Painting Technique 132
Selective Palettes 136
The Development of the Palette as a Tool 141
Palettes for the Blue Robe, a White Horse or Human Skin 144
Technical Limitations 148
Rembrandt's Use of Limited Palettes and the Concept of 'Houding' 149
VII Rembrandt's Brushwork and Illusionism; an Art-Theoretical Approach 154
The Visible Brushstroke 160
Traditional Formulae and Experimental Developments 169
Paint Surface and the Evocation of Space 179
VIII Rembrandt's Method of Working in the 'Night Watch' and his Late Paintings 192
Doerner's 'Glazing Myth' 193
The Night Watch 195
The Late Rembrandt 203
The Local 'Imprimatura' 211
Elaborating the Flesh Tints 215
IX The Search for Rembrandt's Binding Medium 224
Questioning the Painter's Eye 225
Questioning the Scientists' Results 229
A New Effort to 'Break the Code' 234
Additions to Rembrandt's Paint 236
X The Impact of Time and Rembrandt's Ideas on Colour and Tone 244
The Yellowed Varnish and the Different Aging of Paint 245
Rembrandt's Intentions with Colour and Tone 251
The Aging of Pigments 257
The Darkening of Paint and the Etchings as Touchstones 262
XI Perspectives on the Quality of Rembrandt's Art 264
Rembrandt, the Famous Painter 265
Contemporary Praise 268
The Craftsman and the Artist 272
Epilogue on Quality 273
Biographical Data, and Chronological List of Rembrandt's Works Reproduced in this Book 283
Notes 292
Bibliography 312
Glossary 321
Index 326
Concordance 337
Photo Acknowledgements 340
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