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Rembrandt: The Painter at Work [Paperback]

Ernst van de Wetering
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

6 April 2009
Rembrandt's intriguing painting technique stirred the imaginations of art lovers during his lifetime and has done so ever since. In this book, now revised, updated, and with a new foreword by the author, Rembrandt's pictorial intentions and the variety of materials and techniques he applied to create his fascinating effects are unraveled in depth. At the same time, this 'archaeology' of Rembrandt's paintings yields information on many other levels and offers a view of Rembrandt's daily practice and artistic considerations while simultaneously providing a more dimensional image of the artist.

Product details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (6 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520258843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520258846
  • Product Dimensions: 26.5 x 24.1 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 825,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Art lovers from genuine aficionados to weekend museum-goers will find plenty to attract them in this updated reprint."--History Wire "Art lovers from genuine aficionados to weekend museum-goers will find plenty to attract them in this updated reprint."--History Wire

From the Inside Flap

Mijlpaal in het werk van Ernst van de Wetering, een van 's werelds grootste Rembrandt-specialisten. (hardback, Engelstalig)

Paperback verkrijgbaar in een nieuwe editie (2009), ISBN 9789089640338)

Rembrandts schilderijen worden al eeuwenlang bewonderd om hun artistieke vrijheid. Maar Rembrandt was ook een vakman met een van de traditie afgeleide techniek. 'Rembrandt - The Painter at Work' is het resultaat van een langdurig onderzoek naar Rembrandts werkmethodes, zijn intellectuele benadering van de schilderkunst en de manier waarop zijn studio functioneert. Ernst van de Wetering laat zien hoe deze kennis gebruikt kan worden om vragen over authenticiteit en andere kunsthistorische thema's aan te pakken. De vele illustraties, bijna 350 waarvan de helft in kleur, maken van dit boek een monumentaal eerbetoon aan een van 's werelds belangrijkste schilders.

Dit boek heeft de prestigieuze Amerikaanse prijs, de College Art Association/Heritage Preservation Award gekregen
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
I absolutely adore everything about this book - its heavy square shape and size, the publishers' attention to detail (there is a very interesting piece about x-raying paintings printed on the reverse of the jacket sleeve!), the profuse amount of colour illustrations (which explain's the price!), and the written content which is some of the most informed AND informative art writing i've ever read - practical, non-alienating, surprising revelations about the working methods, all add up to a most delightful study of one of the most enigmatic human beings to have ever picked up a brush.
The uses and relevance of the sketchbook, Rembrandts' Colour Management, the developement of Rembrandts' style in his later years and an in-depth analyses of his working technique using scientific analysis and primary sources are four outstanding chapters that report history as well as influencing any future understanding of the man, the works and painting itself. This is, amongst other things, a book concerned with explaining some of the long lost mysteries of painting, using a master who was well versed in the ancient methods and materials but who was also author to some new ones. A book truly worthy of it's subject.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, detailed look into the painting methods of Rembrandt 5 Aug 1998
By A Customer - Published on
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.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 19 Nov 2006
By Brian Asquith - Published on
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.
44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best monograph on Rembrandt ever printed 28 Feb 2001
By Dr. Painter - Published on
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.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny 18 Nov 2006
By D. Davis - Published on
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.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Essential 9 Feb 2007
By Richard T. Scott - Published on
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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