April 15, 2021

Amsterdam offers the most complete image of Rembrandt | Culture

Amsterdam offers the most complete image of Rembrandt | Culture

The anthologies revive in some way the artist they honor, and 350 years after the death of Rembrandt, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has made a historic decision. It has the world's largest collection of paintings by the master of the Golden Age (22 canvases) and now exposes them together in its halls. Beside him, he has arranged 60 drawings and more than 300 engravings, practically All the rembrandts – this is the title of the exhibition, open until June 10, of its funds.

The exhibition follows his beginnings as a painter, illustrates the time of family portraits, recalls his passion for portraying people on the street and does not forget the biblical scenes. There is also a lack of self-portraits, which make the viewer aware of the passage of time, their joys and misfortunes.

It is life itself, from the hand of the "painter of the people". The expression corresponds to Taco Dibbits, director of the art gallery, which cites the attraction generated by Rembrandt in one fact: "He paints us as we are and we see ourselves reflected in their faces, which is why it is so close to all generations." For Dibbits, the evolution of the painter goes beyond the logical learning of the trade based on time. Very little, in this case, because at 28 he was already the most required firm in the Netherlands. "He understands that people need another type of brushstroke, which is why there are real human beings in his canvases, not models, and of all social classes," he adds.

His enthusiasm is not out of place if you look at the portraits of Maarten and Oopjen Soolmans, the wealthy Amsterdam couple who in 1634 commissioned two full-length canvases, of the usual style in the nobility, to present themselves in society. They posed dressed in shiny black and with even more splendid lace that show their status as new rich. And, with them, the tenderness of the declaration of love of The Jewish bride (1665). Or the contagious sadness of Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem(1630).

The Rijksmuseum knows the power of attraction of the canvases, but this time it is committed to drawings and engravings. With modern frames and gray mat, they make up a festival in black and white and sepia. They are so small that it is necessary to approach to verify that it is, for example, the famous Self-portrait with wide-eyed (1630). Often reproduced in large format, it exudes expressiveness. "He is the artist who most portrays himself, the easiest model, he's not interested in beauty, but in truth, and that's why he recorded and drew without stopping, because he was a perfectionist," says Dibbits.

Detail of 'Self-portrait as the apostle Paul (1961).
Detail of 'Self-portrait as the apostle Paul (1961). AP

The first heretic of art

For Jonathan Bikker, curator of the museum and author ofRembrandt, biography of a rebel, "He was the first heretic of art, who broke the rules and painted what others did not do", for example, "naked women who were not Greek goddesses, but washerwomen or old women full of wrinkles". Dibbits points out that the grooves of the skin "were the best source of inspiration, although I hit the reflection of an old age without sweetening."

The apotheosis of the sample contrasts with the sad end of the creator. Vital, industrious and spender, he lost Saskia, his beloved wife, and three of his children. At 63, he was bankrupt and Tito, the only male surviving scion, opened an art shop and hired him as a painter to prevent his work from ending up in debt. But that did not remove him from ruin and, at his death in 1669, he was anonymously buried in the Westerkerk church in Amsterdam. He had no money to pay for a tombstone with his name and historians believe he can lie somewhere on the north wall of the temple with his son, who died just 11 months before the age of 27.


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