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Rembrandt: The Painter at Work Paperback – September 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Van de Wetering's approach to Rembrandt's painting eschews traditional stylistic analysis and iconographic explication in favor of examining the artist's materials and methods of painting. This technical approach is neatly conjoined with an appreciation of the artistic theory that affected the master's manner. The careful exfoliating of data derived from the laboratory about panels, canvases, underpainting, colors, binders, varnishes, and so forth, along with a subtle exploitation of documentary sources, suggests a useful and fresh approaches to Rembrandtian problems. While a radical new understanding of the master's art does not emerge from this study, the Rembrandt student will be disabused of conventional notions about his painting methods, pictorial construction, use of drawing, and likely original appearance. Advanced art history and museum libraries will need to acquire this important addition to the literature.?Robert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“Art lovers from genuine aficionados to weekend museum-goers will find plenty to attract them in this updated reprint.”
(History Wire 2009-06-26) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520226682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520226685
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 9.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,312,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Clear, open-minded, intelligent, detailed, and written with expert knowledge and love of the subject. Figures are high quality, very relevant, and informative.
Wetering writes as a scientist with an artist's eye.
Fascinating discussions of Rembrandt's use of underpainting and subsequent background to foreground painting method, the ingredients of his painting medium (no resin!), the effect of yellowing in the protective varnish layer, and other fundamental aspects of Rembrandt's art.
Read for the latest scientific insight's into Rembrandt's working methods and for greater appreciation of Rembrandt's abilities and works.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Brian Asquith on November 19, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is probably the best study of an individual artist's techniques I've yet to come across. If you have any interest in Rembrandt, whether it be as a art historian, artist or fan of the artist, this book should be an essential component of your library. The book details the results of extensive studies by the author and colleagues on the various techniques adopted by Rembrandt. The opening paragraphs provide background on the life of Rembrandt, the materials available to him, and the state of the art environment in which he worked.

This is followed by extensive studies of the techniques he used. Analytical methods such as xray, paint & varnish composition, microscopy, review of the canvas and wood supports etc. help the author to determine "Is every "Rembrandt" a Rembrandt?". The techniques used by Rembrandt as he tries to create various effects within the limitations of the paints etc he used, forms the foundation of the book. For any artists wanting to paint in the style of Rembrandt I can't imagine any book providing the degree of detail that is provided here.

The quality of the images are first class, majority in colour. The paper quality is also first rate. My only complaint is that the images are not numbered individually. You have to read the accompanying text to determine which image is which and where they are located on the page. I assume this was the result of printing considerations.

A first class book. And essential for anyone interested in Rembrandt and/or Dutch painting in the 1600's. 100% Recommended.
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Painter on February 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Rembrandt is perhaps the greatest painter in the history of the western cannon and this is the finest book on his work ever printed. The abundance of detailed enlargements -which really make an art book great and which are all too often lacking- are the next best thing to being in front of the paintings. They show Rembrandt for the enormous genius he was, both synthesizing the techniques that came before him as well as creating methods of application which to this day remain an enigma and elusive mystery. Rembrandt, a great draughtsman and technician, was also an outrageous innovator. The details in this book show sections of paintings that would make any abstracts expressionist's head spin. The scholarship of the text, clearly a lobour of love and lifetime devotion, are as worthy as scholarsip can be of art this magnificent.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By D. Davis on November 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was surprised when I received my paperback copy, because I did not expect the quality of the paper used and the bright pictures on each page. Every picture is highly detailed, and each word is legible and easy on the eyes.

The book itself is quite informative. Not so much a biography, as it focuses more on Rembrandt's secrets behind what made his paintings so unique and different. Though he died keeping many of his secret techniques to himself, the author of the book shows his research over the years into what he and his counterparts feel are the best explanations to how Rembrandt may have gone about doing his paintings. A number of Rembrandt's paintings have been able to withstand the test of time over hundreds of years, whereas present-day paintings often show deterioration within years. This book discuses why this is so, along with other fascinating observations. This is a great book for anyone remotely interested in art or history, but even better for artists looking to become better.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Richard T. Scott on February 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
There isn't much more I can say, which hasn't already been said to reveal the great merits of this book. However I think the sheer quantity of 5 star ratings speaks volumes. This book is essential for any academic or personal study of Rembrandt, especially so for a painter as I am. On top of all the incredible detailed scientific analysis, the text is written very clearly and is even a pleasure to read. Above all, the detail shots of his paint surface, are breath taking and most instructive for any painter. They utilized different levels of magnification to reveal his work from the entirety of the picture down to the microscopic level. This book has revolutionized my studio practice!

Richard T Scott

Joelle-Scott Gallery
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David on July 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
There are very few books on specific artist methods and materials that I would call extraordinary, and fewer still I would consider definitive. This book is both. The photographic illustrations, including some amazing close-ups, are fantastic, and the text, though at times quite technical, is engrossing. This is the most comprehensive and up-to-date reference on Rembrandt's painting materials and techniques you're likely to find for a long time to come. If you only own one book on Rembrandt, it should be this one.
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