The lost portrait oeuvre of Gerard Pietersz. van Zijl, from the tribute volume to Rudi Ekkart

Gary Schwartz, “Gerard Pietersz. van Zijl the portraitist: a ghost story,” in Facebook: studies on Dutch and Flemish portraiture of the 16th-18th centuries, Liber amicorum presented to Rudolf E.O. Ekkart on the occasion of his 65th birthday, Leiden (Primavera Pers) and The Hague (Netherlands Institute for Art History [RKD]) 2012, pp. 301-10

Open pdf (1.03 Mb)

With Emanuel de Witte in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam: from the tribute volume to Ildikó Ember

Gary Schwartz, “With Emanuel de Witte in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam,” Geest en gratie: essays presented to Ildikó Ember on her seventieth birthday, Budapest (Szépmüvészeti Múzeum) 2012, pp. 84-91

The photographs of the Oude Kerk and Nieuwe Kerk were taken in spring 2012 by Piet Musters.

Open pdf (18.4 Mb)

Ars moriendi: the mortality of art

Gary Schwartz, “Ars moriendi: the mortality of art,” Art in America , November 1996, pp. 72-75

The natural condition of art is not to live on but to perish — usually sooner, almost inevitably later. We deceive ourselves in claiming that art is an undying repository of memory, that it comes to us intact from the past, and that it is in our power to preserve it for posterity. Every generation sees the decay or destruction of far more art than it conserves. This is no less true today than in the past. The conservation of art demands money, space, expert knowledge and lots of love. But which culture will lavish such attention on the art of an enemy or an alien group? Without it, art objects begin at a given moment to obey physical rather than cultural laws of survival.

Open pdf_(2MB)

The clones make the master: Rembrandt in 1650

Gary Schwartz, “The clones make the master: Rembrandt in 1650,” in: Horizonte: Beiträge zu Kunst und Kunstwissenschaft | Horizons: essais sur l’art et sur son histoire | orizzonti: saggi sull’arte e sulla storia dell’arte |  Horizons: essays on art and art research, Zürich (Schweizerisches Institut für Kunstwissenschaft) and Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany (Hatje Cantz) 2001, pp. 53-64

Horizonte is a volume of studies published to mark the 50th anniversary of the Schweizerisches Institut für Kunstwissenschaft (Swiss Institute for Art Research). The article deals with unacknowledged ambiguities in our understanding of Rembrandt.


9 June 2021: I have just come across a passage in Erwin Panofsky’s classic essay “The history of art as a humanistic discipline,” which I surely would have included in my article had I been aware of it while writing.

… the simple diagnosis “Rembrandt around 1650,” if correct, implies everything which the historian of art could tell us about the formal values of the picture, about the interpretation of the subject, about the way it reflects the cultural attitude of seventeenth-century Holland, and about the way it expresses Rembrandt’s personality; and this diagnosis, too, claims to live up to the criticism of the art historian in the narrower sense.

In Meaning in the visual arts: papers in and on art history, Garden City, NY (Anchor Doubleday) 1955, pp. 19-20

“If correct”!  Panofsky does not tell us how to establish whether or not it is, and as I show, that designation is immensely uncertain, and the attendant implications he so optimistically sums up with it.

Open pdf

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Simeon with the Christ child in his arms, with Mary and Joseph

“Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Simeon with the Christ child in his arms, with Mary and Joseph,” In arte venustas: studies on drawings in honour of Teréz Gerszi, presented on her eightieth birthday, Budapest (Szépmüvészeti Múzeum) 2007, pp. 170-72

Open pdf

Jan van der Heyden and the Huydecopers of Maarsseveen

Gary Schwartz, “Jan van der Heyden and the Huydecopers of Maarsseveen,” The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 11 (1983), pp. 197-220

Open pdf (21MB)

The painting that is the subject of the article was de-accessioned by the Getty Museum and sold at auction in New York (Sotheby’s) on 25 January 2007. It was bought by Baron Willem van Dedem, a distinguished collector of Dutch and Flemish paintings. (Baron van Dedem died in November 2015.)