Rembrandt’s Narratives

November 5, 2003

in Storytelling

Seeing the New Yorker on Rembrandt’s narratives made me wish I was in Boston today. While I don’t think the author had audio-photo-geo-blogging on the mind — he’s does advocate the time has come for more engaging art. It also reminded me of a conversation with the Green Museum and spreading environmental art via RSS!

The New Yorker: The Critics: The Art World

Was Rembrandt’s art the movies of its day? You may say so if you’re careful to add that it also performed functions of photography, fiction, theatre, theology, and social anthropology all with an individualism that engendered continual audacities of technique and style. (Often, you know that a Rembrandt is finished only because, at a certain unruly-looking stage, he signed it.) His was a sensibility new in history, born of the freedoms and appetites of a triumphant bourgeoisie. Twentieth-century types for whom bourgeois was a curse had a problem with that.
In a real and delightful way, this most famous of artists remains to be discovered in the manner that he palpably anticipated picture by picture, one viewer at a time. Rembrandt is in the details. The quality for which he is inevitably praised, humanity, is too nebulous. Personality is more like it. Intimate with both subject and viewer, he dissolves emotional distances……

But I think that we are already seeing a shift of emphasis in art away from precious self-contemplation and toward eloquent engagement with the world. The means may not be painting.

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