Rembrandt: Master of Eye Movement


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Mini-Tutorial: Rembrandt: Master of Eye Movement

by Michael Newberry

NOTE FROM MSK: The actual tutorial has been removed at the request of Michael Newberry. The link to the tutorial on his site remains in the title above. I highly recommend you go there and go through it. Here is a small quote from it:

A couple of months ago I came across an interesting passage about Rembrandt in a Guardian article by the hugely influential art critic, Robert Hughes. He wrote:

"Yet for all that has been written about Rembrandt, we have remarkably little certainty as to what he thought about the domain of his genius, the art of painting. He did not theorise. Or if he did, his ideas about art itself have been lost - except for six words, whose meaning is still disputed by art historians. He aimed in his work, he wrote to one of his patrons, the Stadtholder, who employed his friend Constantijn Huygens, to produce die meeste ende die natureelste beweechlickheyt - the greatest and most natural movement."

"But movement of what? The apparent movement of the bodies of the "actors", the figures depicted; or the stirring of the spectator's emotions? We do not know, though it seems more sensible, given the theatrical look and feel of so many of his paintings, to suppose the latter."

These alternatives didn't seem quite "right" to me and Hughes did not offer more thoughts to the meaning of movement in Rembrandt's painting. Having studied Rembrandt, since I was 11, I thought I could demonstrate a more plausible alternative.

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