Rembrandt arguably is among the 10 most gifted artist-painters in world history and he may arguably be the most accomplished and very best of etchers and engravers who ever lived, worldwide. In any country or period.
Nothing beats standing face to face and viewing the real thing. Amsterdam is a fine place to do so because here we have the Rijksmuseum (State museum of art) and the Rembrandt House, the place where he actually lived and worked for many years. Although leafing through illustrations in art books and images on the Internet are fabulous for study purposes, and indispensable in order to learn how to distinguish and compare, understand and classify, there is one experience paramount. Standing face to face with an actual painting by Rembrandt or an actual etching by Rembrandt may become a thrilling and moving event. The Rijksmuseum is the prime place for viewing paintings in Holland, although the museums in The Hague (Mauritshuis) and Rotterdam (Boijmans) are a good alternative. The paint surface: is it shiny and glassy-translucent like a Russian lacquer box (this is the successful style he invented and taught, called fijnschilderkunst or fine painting) or is it as rough and unkempt like bricklaying mortar? Did he succeed in combining both techniques within one and the same painting, like in the stunning Prophet Jeremiah lamenting the sacking of the temple in the Rijksmuseum. Did he only use the fine style in the beginning of his career, and the rough style only later on, or did he move to and fro with those techniques throughout his life?
And what is the psychological wizardry and soul-searching he employes, even at a young age, as a young man of barely 22 or 24? What did Rembrandt write on that subject...? In a letter to Constantijn Huygens, the art lover and Secretary of State, Rembrandt used the term 'naetuereelste beweechgelikheijt'; would a translation in 'Most natural movement' be called for or are there other options for translation? If so, what does this imply?
And then over to the Rembrandthuis. the house in which he lived with Saskia and in which his children were born. The interior has been re-constituted based on the inventory list of his bankruptcy. It feels like walking into his studio and sale rooms, as if the great master has just walked out on doing some business and left you there to roam about on your own. On the top floor one can stand face to face with a good series of the actual etchings. What sets Rembrandt apart from other artists like Duerer, Lucas van Leiden, Elsheimer? How fine or bold are Rembrandts results in the etching and engraving lines? Learn how to see and appreciate how he employed these fine or bold lines in the etching and engraving in order to get the 'Most natural movement'?
A bit of social history and the personal history will also serve to put Rembrandt in perspective. Was he really a cantankerous SOB who alienated the wealthy patrons after 1642, the year of the Nightwatch? I will be there to assist you in viewing and I will help you to hone your own way of seeing. Art appreciation in front of the real thing.
Please note that for Van Gogh museum YOU need to buy a timed ticket (wait date and time) ahead of the tour.
Drs. K. Kaldenbach has been featured in television and radio documentaries, including BBC2 TV, NTV Japan, Danish TV and Radio Netherlands World. In July 2004 he was interviewed about Delft artists by Tetsuya Tsuruhara for the leading Japanese newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun. In 2004 and 2005 he acted in an advisory role to additional BBC teams. Kaldenbach has written extensively on Vermeer and 17th century Delft.
- Price is for 1 hour. Longer duration to be discussed, depending on duration.
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