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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408 The iconophile Sephardi in me

Do you feel kin to people who lived in your house in the past? Schwartz indulges in the exercise, finding out that he is the successor to members of an intertwined Sephardi clan of jewelers and merchants in diamonds and pearls, members of which were Rembrandt’s next-door neighbors, while another commissioned a staggering Antwerp painting he has studied.

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407 The Rembrandt virus, the Syndics variant

Never would I ask you to pity the poor Rembrandt specialist. I regret not a moment of the years I have put into studying him. But besides the outreach of my publications and lectures, there is also inreach, which can be challenging. Read about the biggest painting I have ever been called upon to certify as a Rembrandt.

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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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404 Dutch art outside in

Dutch art, an export product from the start, has found its way into hundreds of museums and university curriculums in large stretches of the world. This might be on the decline, but there are still institutions outside the Netherlands devoted to the art Schwartz most loves. Continue reading “404 Dutch art outside in”

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”

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.

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