Rembrandt Seen Through Jewish Eyes: The Web Conference


Rembrandt Seen Through Jewish Eyes: The Web Conference

24 January 2022 (8 p.m. Moscow time)
31 January 2022 (8 p.m. Moscow time)
7 February 2022 (8 p.m. Moscow time)
14 February 2022 (8 p.m. Moscow time)

From 19 October 2022 through 15 January 2023 the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow is presenting an exhibition on the meaning of Rembrandt to Jews. With the Jews in his city of Amsterdam Rembrandt had contact of various professional and personal kinds, which will be evoked in a reconstruction of his neighborhood. He painted and etched portraits of Jewish sitters, used Jews as models for face studies and put Jewish figures into genre scenes and Bible compositions. Jews in Amsterdam and elsewhere soon began to see Rembrandt in a different light than other artists. His portrait etchings became models for images of rabbis. Female figures by him began to be called Jewish brides.

In the nineteenth century there was an intensification of the perceived link between Rembrandt and the Jews. He was seen as sympathetic toward the Jews, in a time when this was far from common. To European Jews, including wealthy art collectors, this made him the object of special admiration; to anti-Semites it brought him a measure of disdain. Responding to both these effects, Rembrandt was embraced by generation after generation of Jewish artists, who identified with him in their art and in their lives.

These themes and more will be explored and displayed in the exhibition, whose guest curators are Gary Schwartz and Mirjam Knotter. In preparation for it, the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center has organized a series of lectures on the subject of the exhibition. They will be presented online in four sessions of three half-hour lectures each, on successive Mondays starting on 24 January 2022.

Moderator for all sessions: Gary Schwartz

The Program

24 January



31 January



7 February



14 February (the talks will be given in Russian with simultaneous translation into English)





All sessions will begin at

20:00 Moscow time, which is
19:00 in Israel
18:00 in continental Western Europe
17:00 in the United Kingdom
12:00 on the North American east coast
09:00 on the west coast

[These are corrected times. In the initial posting the hours for Western Europe and North America were an hour too late.]

Admission is free. In order to receive Zoom links for all sessions,

Register here


401 My ten favorite Rembrandt self-portraits

Earlier this year, the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad asked me for an interview in which I would reveal, in order from 10 to 1, what my favorite ten Rembrandt self-portraits are. Instead of talking to the editor, Arjen Ribbens, I wrote up my preferences in an illustrated column, in English. I put them in chronological order, but that worked out all right, because my number 1 was indeed the latest. Ribbens translated a pared-down version, made it look more like an interview and published it in the issue of 6 November 2021. For the Schwartzlist, here is the English original.

Continue reading “401 My ten favorite Rembrandt self-portraits”

400 Rembrandt in the garbage

Half a year ago I missed an anniversary. 10 May 2021 was 25 years to the day since the appearance of the pilot of the Schwartzlist. It was an article in the Cultural Supplement of the daily NRC Handelsblad, with the title “Rembrandt bij het grofvuil” (Rembrandt in the garbage). On the basis of that publication, the newspaper offered me a bi-weekly column for a year. I wrote the columns in English, to be translated into Dutch by the paper. Starting with the first of the columns, “Vermeers razernij” (Vermeer’s frenzy), on the 5th of July 1996, I mailed the English version to my 50 or so email correspondents of the time. For the milestone installment 400, I am publishing the pilot. Continue reading “400 Rembrandt in the garbage”

“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.

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

394 The Rembrandt theft of a hundred years ago today

A centennial moment in Schwartz’s art-historical life. One hundred years ago today a Rembrandt self-portrait was stolen from the museum in Weimar. He is writing a book on the painting. A snippet from its fascinating story. Plus a complete lecture and q&a on the exhibition Rembrandt’s orient. Continue reading “394 The Rembrandt theft of a hundred years ago today”

391 Four strains of the Rembrandt virus

During the so-called holidays, Schwartz carried out a very long overdue and immensely satisfying rearrangement of the books in the room he works in. Passing through his hands once more were a favorite collecting genre: over-the-top books on Rembrandt. He comments on four of them. Below the column is an invitation to join a Rembrandt webinar in which Schwartz is participating on 19 January.

Continue reading “391 Four strains of the Rembrandt virus”