Last modified on 3 June 2014, at 16:21

Rembrandt

Choose only one master — Nature.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (15 July 16064 October 1669) was a Dutch painter and etcher, generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in history.

QuotesEdit

In these two paintings the greatest and most innate emotion has been expressed, which is also the main reason why they have taken so long to execute.
Try to put well in practice what you already know; and in so doing, you will in good time, discover the hidden things which you now inquire about.
A painting is finished when the artist says it is finished.
  • Because of the great zeal and devotion which I experienced in executing well the two pictures which His Highness commissioned me to make — the one being Christ's dead body being laid in the tomb, and the other Christ arising from the dead to the consternation of the guards — these same two pictures are now finished through studious application, so that I am now disposed to deliver the same and so to afford to His Highness. For in these two paintings the greatest and most natural movement has been expressed, which is also the main reason why they have taken so long to execute.
    • Letter to Constantijn Huygens on paintings commissioned by the imperial court (12 January 1639), as quoted in Painters on Painting (1963) by Eric Protter, p. 78
    • What Rembrandt meant in his phrase "die meeste ende di naetuereelste beweechgelickheijt" has been the subject of dispute. Variant translations have been proposed:
  • For in these two paintings the greatest and most innate emotion has been expressed, which is also the main reason why they have taken so long to execute.
  • The deepest and most lifelike emotion has been expressed, and that's the reason they have taken so long to execute.
  • Try to put well in practice what you already know; and in so doing, you will in good time, discover the hidden things which you now inquire about. Practice what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know.
    • As quoted in A Dictionary of Thoughts: Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, both Ancient and Modern (1908) by Tryon Edwards, p. 131. Also in EASTLAKE, C. L.:Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Masters (p. 477).
  • I can't paint the way they want me to paint and they know that too.
    Of course you will say that I ought to be practical and ought to try and paint the way they want me to paint. Well, I will tell you a secret. I have tried and I have tried very hard, but I can't do it. I just can't do it! And that is why I am just a little crazy.
    • As quoted in R.v.R. : Being an Account of the Last Years and the Death of One Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn (1930) by Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • Choose only one master — Nature.
    • As quoted in Rembrandt Drawings (1975) by Paul Némo, as translated by David Macrae
  • Painting is the grandchild of nature. It is related to God.
    • As quoted in Rembrandt Drawings (1975) by Paul Némo, as translated by David Macrae
  • A painting is finished when the artist says it is finished.
    • Statement attributed to Rembrandt in early biographies, as quoted in The Rise of the Cult of Rembrandt: Reinventing an Old Master in Nineteenth-Century France (2003) by Alison MacQueen
  • A painting is not made to be sniffed.
    • Statement attributed to Rembrandt in early biographies, as quoted in The Rise of the Cult of Rembrandt: Reinventing an Old Master in Nineteenth-Century France (2003) by Alison MacQueen
  • A painting is complete when it has the shadows of a god.
    • Statement attributed to Rembrandt in early biographies, as quoted in The Rise of the Cult of Rembrandt: Reinventing an Old Master in Nineteenth-Century France (2003) by Alison MacQueen

Quotes about RembrandtEdit

Rembrandt painted 700 pictures. Of these, 3,000 are still in existence. ~ Wilhelm von Bode
Rembrandt not only stops the time that made the subject flow into the future, but makes it flow back to the remotest ages. ~ Jean Genet
Rembrandt is truly called a magician... that's not an easy calling. ~ van Gogh
I believe in Michael Angelo, Velasquez, and Rembrandt; in the might of design, the mystery of color, the redemption of all things by Beauty everlasting, and the message of Art that has made these hands blessed. ~ George Bernard Shaw
He can blend, like no one else, reality with mystery, the bestial with the divine, the most subtle and powerful craftsmanship with the greatest, the loneliest depths of feeling that painting has ever expressed. ~ Paul Valéry
  • The best history is but like the art of Rembrandt; it casts a vivid light on certain selected causes, on those which were best and greatest; it leaves all the rest in shadow and unseen.
  • Rembrandt painted 700 pictures. Of these, 3,000 are still in existence.
  • The psychological truth of Rembrandt's paintings goes beyond that of any other artist who has ever lived. Of course they are masterpieces of sheer picture-making. In the Bathsheba he makes use of studies from nature and from antique reliefs to achieve a perfectly balanced design. We may think we admire it as pure painting, but in the end we come back to the head. Bathsheba's thoughts and feelings as she ponders David's letter are rendered with a subtlety and a human sympathy which a great novelist could scarcely achieve in many pages.
    • Kenneth Clark, Civlisation (1969), ch. 8: The Light of Experience
  • Since music has never had a Rembrandt, we have remained nothing more than musicians.
  • A painting by Rembrandt not only stops the time that made the subject flow into the future, but makes it flow back to the remotest ages. By means of this operation Rembrandt achieves solemnity. He thus discovers why, at every moment, every event is solemn: he knows it from his own solitude.
    • Jean Genet, "Something Which Seemed to Resemble Decay" (1964), trans. Bernard Frechtman, Antaeus (spring 1985 issue)
  • There is something of Rembrandt in the Gospel, or something of the Gospel in Rembrandt, as you like it — it comes to the same, if one only understands the thing in the right way.
  • Rembrandt is so deeply mysterious that he says things for which there are no words in any language. Rembrandt is truly called a magician... that's not an easy calling.
  • Of all the Baroque masters, it was Rembrandt who evolved the most revolutionary technique and who seemed to grow into the Italians' spiritual heir. Where others needed five touches he was using one, and so the brushstrokes had begun to separate and could sometimes only be properly read from a distance. The exact imitation of form was being replaced by the suggestion of it: to some of his contemporaries, therefore, his paintings began to look unfinished. It was from the Venetians that he had learned to use a brown ground so that his paintings emerged from dark to light, physically as well as spiritually. Yet, despite a palette that was limited even by seventeenth century standards, he was renowned as a colorist for he managed to maintain a precarious balance between painting tonally, with light and shade, and painting in color. Just as form was suggested rather than delineated, so the impression of rich color was deceptive. Never before had a painter taken such a purely sensuous interest and delight in the physical qualities of his medium, nor granted it a greater measure of independence from the image.
  • His temperament was that of a Prophet — a God-possessed man, brother to Dostoevski, and teeming with the future, a future he bore within him as the Hebrew prophets bore within them the coming of the Messiah, and as he bore within himself the past.
    • André Malraux as quoted in Painters on Painting (1963) by Eric Protter, p. 78
  • In common with Michelangelo and Rembrandt I am more interested in the line, its rise and fall, than in color.
  • Rembrandt was himself a universal spirit, and this spirit informs everything that he painted, so that a biblical legend, a carcass of an ox, a naked woman, his own self-portrait — all stand as symbols of an all-embracing sympathy. Perhaps only Shakespeare, in another art, has that kind of universal intelligence.
    • Sir Herbert Read in "Gauguin: The Return to Symbolism" in The Tenth Muse: Essays in Criticism (1957).
  • Rembrandt, the son of a miller, a pupil of Lastman, attained to a high degree of excellence in art through industry and natural gifts, although he never visited Italy and was but imperfectly developed. ... He sinned against the laws of anatomy, proportion, perspective, and the antique, as against Raphael's draftsmanship; and he warred also against academies and relied on nature.
    • Joachim von Sandrart, in Comments (1675), as quoted in Painters on Painting (1963) by Eric Protter, p. 80
  • His engravings bear witness to his industry, and by its means he acquired affluence... If he had been more prudent in his relations with others, he would have become still wealthier. But although he was no spendthrift, he cared little for social rank, and was addicted to the society of humble folks, who interfered a good deal with his work.
    • Joachim von Sandrart, in Comments (1675), as quoted in Painters on Painting (1963) by Eric Protter, p. 80
  • He can blend, like no one else, reality with mystery, the bestial with the divine, the most subtle and powerful craftsmanship with the greatest, the loneliest depths of feeling that painting has ever expressed.
    • Paul Valéry, Degas Danse Dessin (Degas Dance Drawing, 1935)
  • Perhaps we shall one day find that Rembrandt is a greater painter than Raphael. I write down this blasphemy which will cause the hair of the schoolmen to stand on end without taking sides.
  • There's a Rembrandt trapped in this body. It's your job to find it.

External linksEdit

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:
Commons
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: