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.
Jacob Isaacsz van Swanenburg, The Siege of Bethulia, ca. 1615 | Oil on canvas, 101 x 125.5 cm | Leiden, Museum De Lakenhal (S 5189)
Pieter Lastman, Laban Searching for the Lost Idols, 1622 | Oil on panel, 110 x 152 cm |Boulogne-sur-Mer, Musée Boulogne sur Mer (147.13)
Ornamental Lotto carpet with cartouche design in border, early seventeenth century, thought to be made in Turkey | 123.8 x 175.9 cm | New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The James F. Ballard Collection, gift of James F. Ballard, 1922 (22.100.112)
Sebastiano del Piombo, Cardinal Bandinello Sauli, His Secretary, and Two Geographers, 1516 | Oil on panel, 121.8 x 150.4 cm | Washington, DC, National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection (1961.9.37)
Pieter Lastman, The Adoration of the Magi, 1608 | Oil on canvas, 97.5 x 132 cm | Prague, Národní Galerie
Rembrandt, Bileam’s Ass Balking at the Angel, 1626 | Oil on panel, 63 x 48.5 cm |Paris, Musée Cognacq-Jay (J 95; following a spectacular cleaning)
Renier Persijn after Joachim von Sandrart after Titian, Ludovico Ariosto, ca. latter 1630s | Engraving, 26.0 x 19.6 cm. End of inscription: E. Titiani Prototypo in aedibus Alph: Lopez | Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-OB-60.201)
Rembrandt, Self-portrait leaning on a stone sill, 1639 | Etching, 20.6 x 16.4 cm | Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-OB-37)
Lucas Vorsterman after Peter Paul Rubens, The Adoration of the Magi, 1621 (detail, in mirror image) | Engraving after a painting now in Lyon, 55.8 x 73.3 cm | Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-OB-70.341)
Rembrandt, David Presenting the Head of Goliath to Saul, 1627 (detail) | Oil on panel, 27.4 x 39.7 cm | Basel, Kunstmuseum Basel (G 1958.37)
Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen, Mulay Ahmed, ca. 1535-36 | Etching on paper, 46.4 x 37.7 cm | Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (L 1959/51 (PK))
Peter Paul Rubens, Mulay Ahmed, ca. 1609 | Oil on panel, 99.7 x 71.5 cm | Boston, Museum of Fine Arts (40.2)
Pieter Lastman, Baptism of the Eunuch, 1620 (detail) | Oil on panel, 70 x 104 cm | Munich, Alte Pinakothek (10735)
Peter Paul Rubens, The Adoration of the Magi, 1609 | Oil on canvas, 355.5 x 493 cm | Madrid, Museo del Prado (P001638)
Rembrandt, Man in Oriental Costume (“The Noble Slav”), 1632 | Oil on canvas, 152.7 x 111.1 cm | New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art (20.155.2)
Rembrandt, Bust of an Old Man in a Turban, ca. 1627-28 | Oil on panel, 26.5 x 20 cm | The Kremer Collection
Jan Gillisz van Vliet after Rembrandt, Bust of an Oriental, ca. 1634 | Etching on paper, 22.8 x 18.8 cm | London, British Museum (F,6.151)
|Jan Lievens, Old Man With Skullcap, ca. 1630-32 or 1635-44 | Etching, 16.4 x 14.4 cm | Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-1952-367)||Jan Lievens, Old Man With Headscarf, ca. 1630-32 | Etching, 16.4 x 14.4 cm | Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-OB-12.559)||Jan Lievens, An Oriental With Beard and Headscarf, ca. 1630-32 | Etching, 16.0 x 14.3 cm | Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-OB-12.553)||Jan Lievens, A Young Man With a Velvet Beret, ca. 1631-32 | Etching, 14.6 x 12.4 cm | Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-OB-12.570)|
|Rembrandt, The First Oriental Head, 1635 | Etching, 15.1 x 12.4 cm | Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-OB-581)||Rembrandt, The Second Oriental Head, ca. 1635 | Etching, 15.1 x 12.5 cm | Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-OB-582)||Rembrandt, The Third Oriental Head, 1635 | Etching, 15.4 x 13.0 cm | Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-OB-583)||Rembrandt, The Fourth Oriental Head, ca. 1635 | Etching, 15.8 x 13.5 cm | Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-OB-585)|
Rembrandt and workshop, A Bearded Old Man in Middle Eastern Dress, signed and dated Rembrandt f. / 163[6 or 7] | Oil on panel, 74.7 x 54.5 cm | Knowsley Hall, The Earl of Derby
Rembrandt, Self-portrait in Oriental Dress, 1631 | Oil on panel, 63 x 56 cm | Paris, Musée du Petit Palais (PTUD925)
Costanzo da Ferrara after Gentile Bellini, Turkish Man Standing, ca. 1495 | Pen and ink on paper, 30.1 x 20.4 cm | Paris, Musée du Louvre, Département des Arts Graphiques (4655 recto)
Bernardo Pinturicchio, Pope Pius II arriving in Ancona, ca. 1502-07 (detail) | Fresco | Siena, Cathedral, Biblioteca Piccolomini
Lucas Vorsterman after Peter Paul Rubens, The Adoration of the Magi, 1621 (detail) | Engraving after a painting now in Lyon, 55.8 x 73.3 cm |
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-OB-70.341)
Peter Paul Rubens, Nicholas de Respaigne, 1620 or earlier | Oil on canvas, 205 x 119.5 cm | Kassel, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (GK 92)
Rembrandt, Self-portrait with Raised Sabre, 1634 | Etching on paper, 12.5 x 10.3 cm | Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-1961-987)
Extract from Tijdinghe uyt Verscheide Kwartieren, March 15, 1621
Rembrandt, Samson Posing a Riddle to the Wedding Guests, 1638 | Oil on canvas, 126 x 175 cm | Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (1560)
Jan Gerritsz or Jan Lucasz van Hasselt, Group Portrait Historié of the Wedding Feast of Grietje Hermans van Hasselt and Jochum Berntsen van Haecken, 1636 | Oil on canvas, 102.1 x 135.5 cm | Utrecht, Centraal Museum (10046)
By or after Philips Angel, Return from the Hunt, mid-seventeenth century | Wall painting, tempera on plaster, 71 x 111 cm | Isfahan, Chihil Sotun
Philips Angel, Title plate and first two avatars of Vishnu, Matsyāvatāra and Kūrmāvatāra, from manuscript Deex-Autaers (Ten Avatars), 1658 | Postel Abbey, Mol, Belgium (with thanks to Pater Ivo Billiaert)
Unknown Indian artist, Four Mullahs (Sheikh Husain Jami, Sheikh Husain Ajmeri, Sheikh Muhammad Mazandarani, and Sheikh Miyan Mir, 1627-28 | Watercolor on paper mounted on wood | Vienna, Schloss Schönbrunn (SKB002606)
Rembrandt, Four Mullahs Seated Under a Tree, copied after a Mughal miniature resembling fig. XX, ca. 1656 or earlier | Pen and wash on Asian paper, 10.4 x 12.4 cm | London, British Museum (1895.0915.1275)
Rembrandt, Abraham Receiving the Three Angels, 1656 | Etching and drypoint, 16 x 13.2 cm | Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-1954-135)
Peter Paul Rubens, Aletheia Talbot, Lady Arundel, 1620 | Oil on canvas, 162.5 x 266 cm | Munich, Alte Pinakothek (352)
Rembrandt, Joannes Wtenbogaert, 1639 | Etching, 25.2 20.5 cm | Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (RP-P-1938-692)
Rembrandt, Woman Standing, Wearing an Oriental Costume, ca. 1638 – or April 1639? | Pen and wash on prepared paper, 20 x 14.2 cm | Stockholm, Nationalmuseum (2076/1863)
Rembrandt, A Deccan Nobleman Standing (Muhammad ‘Adil Shah of Bijapur), 1667-68 | Ink and wash on Asian paper, 19.6 x 15.8 cm | London, British Museum (1895.0915.1280)
Attributed to Bichitr, Akbar and Jahangir in apotheosis, ca. 1640 (detail) | Watercolor, ink and gold on paper, 48.4 x 33 cm (sheet) | Private collection
Rembrandt, The Emperor Akbar and Jahangir in Apotheosis, After a Mughal Miniature, 1667-68 | Ink and wash on Asian paper, 21.2 x 17.6 cm | Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (R 36 (PK))
Willem Schellinks, Parade of the Sons of Shah Jahan on Composite Horses and Elephants, ca 1660s (detail) | Oil on canvas, 78 x 83.8 cm | London, V&A (IS.30-1892)
Willem Schellinks, Parade of the Sons of Shah Jahan on Composite Horses and Elephants, ca. 1660s | Oil on canvas, 78 x 83.8 cm |London, V&A (IS.30-1892)
© Gary Schwartz 2020. Published on the Schwartzlist 31 October 2020.
4 November 2020: The location of Musée Boulogne-sur-Mer is not, as I first copied from RKD Explore, Boulogne-Billancourt, but Boulogne-sur-Mer. The inventory number of Lastman’s painting is not 147 but 147.13. With thanks to reader Bernard Allien for calling the error to my attention.
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