409 “I’m certain Rembrandt loves me”

The exhibition at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow on which I have been working for five years with Mirjam Knotter of the Jewish Museum in Amsterdam. “Rembrandt seen through Jewish eyes,” has been postponed indefinitely. Still, I have to submit text for the Russian-language catalogue that was going to be printed. Here are fragments from the section “Jewish artists discover Rembrandt.”

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Love in the kunstkamer: additions to the work of Guillam van Haecht (1593-1637)

An exploration of the riches of beauty and meaning invested in and taken from art by Guillam van Haecht and his patron Cornelis van der Geest. Published in the Dutch art magazine Tableau, the summer issue of 1996, pp. 43-52.

LoveInTheKunstkamerTableauSummer1996

405 Early Vermeer body fluids

Did Vermeer’s Kitchen maid, an icon of Dutchness, have an older, Italian sister? Schwartz finds her resemblance to an earlier, unjustifiedly doubted, Vermeer copy after an Italian painting of a saint so convincing that he sticks his neck out to argue that she does.


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403 Good Jews and bad Jews in 1620 and 1630

On four successive Mondays, from 21 January to 14 February, I moderated a webinar on the theme “Rembrandt seen through Jewish eyes,” in preparation for an exhibition of that name in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow. One point of disagreement among the speakers was how welcoming the Netherlands was to Jewish immigrants. I felt that some speakers had too rose-colored an impression of things, for which I bring the following heavy evidence to bear.

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188 Sex with God: for Leo Steinberg

This afternoon I had a query from my dear friend Anja Ševčík of the Wallraf-Richartz Museum concerning the iconography of a painting by Geldorp Gortzius of the Madonna and child with St. Anne. Rather than delving instantly into her case, I was inspired to post a salacious column on the subject that I wrote in 2003. When it appeared in the Financieele Dagblad there were incensed reactions from Christians who maintain a sanitized view of their god’s congress with a married Jewish virgin and her mother. Continue reading “188 Sex with God: for Leo Steinberg”

A Last Judgment to scare the hell out of you

At a symposium in Vienna devoted to Jheronimus Bosch’s Last Judgment in the Paintings Gallery of the Akademie der bildenden Künste, I presented a paper that was published only a few months later (hats off to Julia Neuhaus and her staff ) in a volume of proceedings. It was dedicated to the memory of Roger Marijnissen, who died earlier that year, in January 2019, at the age of 95.

Gary Schwartz, “A Last Judgment to scare the hell out of you,” in Hieronymus Boschs Weltgerichts-Triptychon in seiner Zeit: Publikation zur gleichnamigen internationalen Konferenz vom 21. bis 23. November 2019 in der Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien | Hieronymus Bosch’s Last Judgment Triptych in the 1500s: Publication of the proceedings of the international conference held from 21 – 23 November 2019 in the Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Vienna (Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste) 2020, pp. 149-67

PDF of Gary Schwartz, A Last Judgment to scare the hell out of you

Because it was not possible to place all the illustrations I wanted, the depictions of the Vision of Tundale by followers or copyists of Bosch had to be left out. I added them separately at Visions of Tondal in Bosch mode.

397 Gabriel Metsu’s Sick child – of state?

Gabriel Metsu’s Sick child in the Rijksmuseum is the poster boy of domesticism in Dutch art. What could be more touching? Schwartz thinks it was also meant to move the viewer in other ways than as an image of maternal care. He thinks he can identify the pathetic little boy as a personification of a high office leading an ailing existence. Continue reading “397 Gabriel Metsu’s Sick child – of state?”

“The years have imposed heavy tribulations”: Rembrandt’s portrait of Johannes Wtenbogaert

Working in 2021 on a book about a disputed Rembrandt self-portrait, I wished to refer to the article below, from July 1992, for its comments on the Rembrandt Research Project. The English text had not been published before. If I am not mistaken, this article has never been referred to in subsequent literature on the painting.

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388 Convention and uniqueness in Rembrandt’s response to the east

On 29 and 30 October 2020, the ceremonial openings were to have taken place of an exhibition in Kunstmuseum Basel of which I am guest curator: Rembrandt’s orient: west meets east in Dutch art of the seventeenth century. Because of the pandemic, no openings are being held. Today, I am pleased to say, 31 October, the exhibition is open to the public. Travel restrictions have kept me from being in on the hanging or seeing the exhibition at all for the time being. I can only hope that I can see it before it closes on 14 February 2021 and that by the time the exhibition moves on to Museum Barberini in Potsdam in March 2021 there will be an opening at which I can speak. The catalogue includes an essay of mine on Rembrandt. It had to be shortened, but I have permission from the museums to publish the complete version on the Schwartzlist. The essay is a review of oriental motifs in Rembrandt’s art, which tend to be conventional, and an argument concerning the nature of one group of works that is entirely unique.

To entice you into reading the essay, this column shows only the illustrations. To find out what I have to say about them, click here.

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375 Another third poem on Rembrandt Jews

Did Rembrandt have more sympathy for Jews and Judaism than most of his contemporaries? This has long been taken for granted, and his paintings of Old Testament subjects and portraits of Jews have been discussed in this light. Since 1984, Schwartz has been questioning this assumption. Here he presents new evidence that Rembrandt cooperated in attaching anti-Semitic meaning to his work. Continue reading “375 Another third poem on Rembrandt Jews”