Rembrandts paintings have been admired throughout centuries because of their artistic freedom. But Rembrandt was also a craftsman whose painting technique was rooted the tradition. Rembrandt—The Painter at Work is the result of a lifelong search for Rembrandt's working methods, his intellectual approach to the art of painting and the way in which his studio functioned. Ernst van de Wetering demonstrates how this knowledge can be used to tackle questions about authenticity and other art-historical issues. Approximately 350 illustrations, half of which are reproduced in colour, make this book into a monumental tribute to one of the worlds most important painters.
"The book is—if one may be allowed to say such a thing about a serious scholarly work—a gripping good-read.'
Christopher White, The Burlington Magazine
"This is a very rich book, a deeply felt analysis of an artist whom the author knows better than almost any other living scholar."
Christopher Brown, Times Literary Supplement
About the Author
Ernst van de Wetering is full professor of Art History at the University of Amsterdam. He has published extensively on historic painting techniques, as well as in the field of theory and ethics of conservation and restoration.
Table of Contents
I. Introduction: Rembrandt - an Alchemist?
The Self-Supporting Studio
II. Painting Materials and Working Methods of the Young Rembrandt
The First Sketch, the Monochrome Underpainting and the First Lay-in of Colour
III. Lost Drawings and the Use of Erasable Drawing Boards and "Tafeletten"
Lost Drawing Exercises
Drawing Tablets in Seventeenth-Century Prints, a False Lead?
"Tafeletten" and "Tablets a Papier"
Surviving Dutch "Tafeletten"
IV. The Creation of the Pictorial Idea
On the Function of Drawings
The Painting Contests
Rembrandt's Studio Scene and its Art-Theoretical Statement
V. The Canvas Support
Radiographs as a Means of Studying the Canvas
Historic Sources on the Nature and Origin of Canvas Used by Painters
Problems Determining the Warp Direction
Thread Density and Weave Characteristics of Canvases by or Attributed to Rembrandt
Strip Widths and Painting Formats
Some Remarks on the Grounds of Rembrandt's Canvases
VI. The Palette; on the Relationship between Style and Painting Technique
The Development of the Palette as a Tool
Palettes for teh Blue Robe, a White Horse or Human Skin
Rembrandt's Use of Limited Palettes and the Concept of "Houding"
VII. Rembrandt's Brushwork and Illusionism; an Art-Theoretical Approach
The Visible Brushstroke
Traditional Formulae and Experimental Developments
Paint Surface and Evocation of Space
VIII. Rembrandt's Method of Working in the "Night Watch" and his Late Paintings
Doerner's "Glazing Myth"
The Night Watch
The Late Rembrandt
The Local "Imprimatura"
Elaborating the Flesh Tints
IX. The Search for Rembrandt's Binding Medium
Questioning the Painter's Eye
Questioning Scientists' Results
A New Effort to "Break the Code"
Additions to Rembrandt's Paint
X. The Impact of Time and Rembrandt's Ideas on Colour and Tone
The Yellowed Varnish and the Different Aging of Paint
Rembrandt's Intentions with Colour and Tone
The Aging of Pigments
The Darkening of Paint and the Etchings as Touchstones
XI. Perspectives on the Quality of Rembrandt's Art
Rembrandt, the Famous Painter
The Craftsman and the Artist
Epilogue on Quality
Biographical Data, and Chronological List of Rembrandt's Works Reproduced in this Book