Rembrandt at the Getty
June 18, 2005 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits. No one knows why Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn began painting half-length portraits of religious figures late in his life. The subject was uncommon in Protestant Amsterdam, where he lived. Paintings and sculptures, deemed idolatrous by Luther's followers, were not permitted in churches; existing images were removed and often destroyed. In 1681, a local authority described Rembrandt as the "foremost heretic in the art of painting." In Los Angeles, the Getty Center brings together, for the first time, 16 of these mysterious paintings. More inside.
posted by matteo (11 comments total)
Peter Schjeldahl's excellent story on the 2003 Rembrandt exhibit in Boston
posted by matteo at 8:32 AM on June 18, 2005

Thank you for this matteo. Iconoclasm and its ramifications has always fascinated me.
posted by Jikido at 9:27 AM on June 18, 2005

Good art is dangerous.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:31 AM on June 18, 2005

What is this I hear of Rembrandt's Bible?
posted by James I at 9:37 AM on June 18, 2005

Luther's followers? It would have been Calvin's followers in Amsterdam, wouldn't it?
posted by winston at 9:43 AM on June 18, 2005

Aha! I knew I was overdue for a trip to the Getty! Maybe I'll go this weekend... grazie, Matteo!
posted by scody at 10:46 AM on June 18, 2005

Damn, I wish I were in LA, I'd love to see this.

Hey, scody, you know you have to reserve well in advance for a parking space, right? When my brother and I went, we took the bus from somewhere around UCLA to avoid the problem. It's worth whatever hassle it takes, though -- neat buildings, some good art, and magnificent views.
posted by languagehat at 11:33 AM on June 18, 2005

XPLANE's art blog, has interesting links, including some discussing aspects of Rembrandt's painting, the experience of eyes in a portrait following the observer and others more whimsical.
posted by nickyskye at 12:10 PM on June 18, 2005

Minor quibble... the Getty center didn't bring the portraits together for the first time. The exhibition has already been shown at the National Gallery. (It was a good exhibit with two or three stunning portraits -- and a spectacular etching or two.)
posted by cgs06 at 2:47 PM on June 18, 2005

Matteo - you might be interested in Henri Nouwen's book "Return of the Prodigal Son" which deals with his encounter of Rembrandt's masterpiece in the Hermitage.

Another great post.
posted by vronsky at 5:09 PM on June 18, 2005

Excellent post, thank you matteo!
posted by madamjujujive at 10:17 PM on June 18, 2005

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