Key features of the art of Jheronimus Bosch are illuminated by a book published in the Netherlands in the artist’s early years. Raymond Sebond’s Natural theology, or Book of the creatures, can help us understand what God was doing with a book at the creation and why the Garden of earthly delights looks so unnatural. Continue reading “340 Jheronimus Bosch and the Book of Nature”
Rembrandt’s last dated drawing and the painting that was on his easel when he died both depict the same subject – Simeon with the Christ child in the Temple – in much the same way. In honor of the memorable exhibition Late Rembrandt Schwartz publishes some thoughts on these exceptional works.
On Tuesday evening, 3 February 2015, a commuter train from Grand Central Station to Westchester County and Connecticut crashed into an automobile on a crossing in Valhalla, New York. Of the more than 600 passengers in the train, six in the first car were killed in a fire caused by the crash. Among them was Walter Liedtke, a friend and colleague of Gary Schwartz. With their first exchange of letters. Continue reading “338 The young Walter Liedtke”
The legendary single sale of a painting by Vincent van Gogh in his lifetime is not the art market discovery it is usually taken to be. It has a rich and moving background involving a cast of admirable characters, not least of them Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, who in Brussels challenged a vilifier of van Gogh to a duel. Continue reading “337 Here’s to Vincent and Theo, Anna, Eugène and Octave”
A yeshiva boy’s food memories, topped by Mrs. Hrzka’s potluck kitchen on West 181st Street. Continue reading “333 Food guide to Washington Heights in 1953”
Christie’s is about to auction as a Vermeer a painting of the early Christian St. Praxedis, who distinguished herself by conserving the body parts of martyrs. In doing so, the auction house braves the dismissal of the Vermeer attribution by nearly all experts in the field. Schwartz is convinced that Christie’s is right and they’re wrong. Continue reading “332 Vermeer’s blood-sopping saint”
The final scenes of two of the greatest books of the twentieth century, The trial by Frans Kafka and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, are eerily similar. Schwartz examines this and other disturbing overlaps, including ties between him and Heller. Continue reading “331 “Kafka meets Catch-22”; Schwartz meets Heller”
On the painting of an Apocalypse that has already come and will never be really gone, by the Dutch Nazi artist Henri van de Velde.
“Oude en nieuwe wonden,” Het Financieele Dagblad, 31 January 2004, p. 25 Continue reading “202 Old and new wounds”
When P.J. Blok, one of the leading Dutch historians of the first half of the twentieth century, came across a dirty remark in a letter by a leading seventeenth-century personality of the House of Orange, he simply left it out of his transcription. Schwartz digs up the shocking source. Continue reading “330 Frederik Hendrik gets the hots”
In 1890 the fanatical cultural pessimist Julius Langbehn succeeded in convincing the German people that Rembrandt was not only one of them, but the best German of all. Rembrandt’s individuality and spirituality deserved to be taken as a model for a nation diseased by the degeneracy of Jews, journalists and academics. Art historians thought this was perfectly fine. Continue reading “43 The Langbehn virus”