The Power of Art: Rembrandt

On 02/02/2011, in Art and artists, by admin

Historian Simon Schama reviews the live and work of Rembrandt van Rijn. He starts questioning how come that one of the best painters ever ended up cutting his masterpiece to six pieces as a poor man.

Rembrandt, born in Leiden, moved to Amsterdam to work for the nouveau riche of his age. He got along really well with them and flourished in their good-willing. His style changed fashion, as he painted not only the image he was ordered to paint, but also the person behind the image. The upperclass liked people to know that although wealthy, had a more sensitive god-obedient side.

During his high tides Rembrandt was a rich man. But fashion changed, and the honest and more personal style he deepened was becoming less and less popular. The keyword became ‘lightness’, while his art darkened. Thus, his downfall.

Already a poor painter he got an assignment for the townhall, after his concurrent Flinck that actually got the assignment at first, died suddenly. He painted ‘The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis’ one of his greatest pieces. The counsil denied the painting and he decided to slice it in six parts in order to sell it.

Schama gives a nice insight in live in 17th century Amsterdam. He depicts Rembrandt as a self-made extravagant personality that rose and fell during his lifetime due to fashion, which he was able to change but not to pursue.


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