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Rembrandt by Himself (National Gallery London Publications) Hardcover – August 11, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-9040093159 ISBN-10: 0300077890 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: National Gallery London Publications
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: National Gallery London; 1st edition (August 11, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300077890
  • ISBN-13: 978-9040093159
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 9.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,628,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) may not have been a handsome man, but he was an exceptional painter of himself. This sumptuous catalog, published to coincide with the exhibition of his self-portraits at the National Gallery in London, has glossy reproductions of all the paintings and etchings from the show, plus copies of works that are long lost and some not released by the galleries or private collectors who own them. The images are all thoroughly annotated to elucidate their history, and the scholarship is impressive, being mostly drawn from the Rembrandt Research Project, which for years has been working with a combination of x-ray technology and patient research to ascertain the age of the pictures and confirm the identity of their painter. This is not easy work: Rembrandt had many pupils, and he encouraged them to copy his own self-portraits as practice, leading to the unusual situation of a host of Rembrandt self-portraits not actually painted by the master himself. The findings of the project have been contentious, with paintings unexpectedly relegated or elevated through reappraisal. What shines through, though, is the sheer diversity of Rembrandt's genius: the early paintings and etchings in which he turns to a mirror to study expression; the periods of dressing up variously as an Oriental potentate, a soldier, an artisan, and St. Paul; and the famous trilogy of self-portraits painted in his final year that seem to show a man old beyond his years. The catalog also contains a selection of works by his pupils Gerrit Dou and Samuel van Hoogstraten and essays by Rembrandt scholars that seek to revise the somewhat romantic conceit that the series is some sort of spiritual autobiography. Rembrandt by Himself, an intelligent and resourceful accompaniment to the exhibition, will continue to transport the reader long after the portraits in the exhibition have returned to their respective homes. --David Vincent, Amazon.co.uk

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It's about time that I found a (good) book on this subject. Rembrandts self-portraits (I feel) are of his most important work. The quality of the prints are wonderful...unlike 90% of the art related books floating around. The color reproduction is more accurate than most. This is a must have for any fan of Rembrandt...or for any true lover of painting.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Rembrandt tells his own story as a series of self- portraits. He traces his life from early youth to sad old age. He presents himself posing as if he understands the self can be a social construct. He creates great masterpieces including the Frick self- portrait where he sits as master and ruler , king of the world of art. He in telling his story looks deeply into his soul and traces a single life as no other painter before or since has. Even his great countryman Van Gogh cannot in his hair and soul raising self- portraits touch the depth and broad humanity of the Rembrandt self - portrait and soul .This is human art at its highest, and most inspiring. Who reads this book reads a great painter and great soul, one of mankind's greatest gifts to itself.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Charlise Tiee on November 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is facinating. It includes three good and fairly dry essays on the topic of Rembrandt's self portraits. More interesting are the prints of all the works that are considered his self portraits, and the detailed commentary on these works. The prints are very good and quite useful for the lover of Rembrandt.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many reasons have been adduced to explain why Rembrandt created so large a number of self-portraits. The essayists in this excellent book, accompanying an exhibition of a good many of these, find the purpose to be a matter which can only be answered in terms of the 17th Century world in which he lived. There is a great deal more than these explanatory essays. Each of the many paintings, etchings and drawings are analyzed by Rembrandt experts; each is represented by a fine illustration.
Having seen only the Master's work available in the United States and, occasionally those allowed to be sent from abroad, it was exciting, indeed, to have available so many, along with the expert guidance which enabled an amateur student of art to learn why most are considered authentic Rembrandts and others not, and to see, with a more refined vision than I possess, how the artist achieved his purposes.
This book was one of the most informative as well as interesting to read, of the many on Rembrandt that I possess. Reading an hour or two at one sitting each day, I was never bored or put off by wide-ranging speculations, that are so often offered to explain why an artist did what he did and what each element means in terms of assumed personality traits and the like. The explanations and interpretations by these authors are based on scientific analysis of the works of art combined with art historical experience and knowledge of Dutch society and the art community of his times.
The book is accessible reading and viewing for any reader wishing to be better informed about one of the seminal figures in Western culture and, certainly, for any student of the art of his times or art generally.
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