REMBRANDT by Gary Schwartz


Age Range: 10 & up
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 By a Rembrandt authority and longtime Netherlands resident, the best yet in the ``First Impressions'' series. Schwartz not only relays the most significant events in the master's life, depicts the genius and milieu that engendered his fame, and outlines enough political and social history to give him context- -but also conveys the man's rich complexity, includes sage observations about the difficulty of winnowing facts from legends adhering to the great, offers a succinct overview of schools of art history (describing his own philosophy as a sensible amalgam), and ends with a history of the artist's reputation (fueled, ironically, both by the many misattributions and by their unmaskings). Schwartz includes telling contemporary quotes (the poet Huygens observed that Rembrandt ``combines individual and universal features better than any [classical] Greek painter''); his own uncondescending voice is admirably lucid and intelligent, with a humorous edge. He's also right about Rembrandt's darker side (among other things, he was ``not more scrupulous in financial affairs than he had to be''). Oddly, mention of Amsterdam's Jews is omitted; otherwise, a nearly flawless text, with more emphasis on the art's emotional content than on the artist's techniques. The 54 beautifully reproduced illustrations are well chosen, placed, and captioned; the elegant book design, with borders subtly echoing Rembrandt's signature glow, is outstanding. A must. Art fully cited; index. (Nonfiction. 10+)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-8109-3760-3
Page count: 92pp
Publisher: Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1992