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.
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.
A new friend I have yet to meet, Luca Del Baldo, has done something so far out of the ordinary that I am stunned in amazement. Singlehandedly, with unimaginable dedication and tenacity, he has called into being a 98-person community of people who write about art, painting portraits of each and getting them to put down on paper thoughts on portraiture. Here is Schwartz’s contribution, followed by two recently published articles to be downloaded or requested.
A splendid documentary on the ownership of and trade in Rembrandt paintings prompts Schwartz to ask questions not posed in the film. What went on behind the scenes in Paris to allow the Rothschild family to sell abroad a treasure of French cultural heritage? And could the Duke of Buccleuch’s painting of an old woman reading not be the mother of Jan Six?
My research paths have crossed those of Jan de Hond in various ways for twenty years now. Again and again, he has beaten me to the punch in putting his finger on vital items. A tribute to a gifted colleague. Continue reading “377 Three discoveries by Jan de Hond of which I am envious*”
In his paintings of faces Rembrandt displays knowledge of a particular muscular feature, the one that gives some people bags under their eyes. Schwartz became mildly obsessed with following this from face to face and found that Rembrandt never gave paying sitters the bags he admits to in some self-portraits and mercilessly records when painting old studio models.
In a fraught discussion about Rembrandt’s motivation for making so many self-portraits, the leading Rembrandt expert of the day, Ernst van de Wetering, let himself be misled by a faulty publication of 1887, uncritically recycled in 1906 and 1979, into making an incorrect argument to which he attaches fundamental importance.
Donations to this installment of the Schwartzlist will be used not only for the website but also as a contribution to Loekie and Gary’s golden anniversary present, a new television set. See below.
The contributions of the Rembrandt Research Project to the study of Rembrandt paintings are countless and invaluable. In particular, the insistence of Ernst van de Wetering that the physical study of paintings be integrated into the practice of connoisseurship has changed the face of the field. However, inconsistencies in the six volumes of its Corpus of Rembrandt paintings leave us in uncertainty concerning its reconstruction of Rembrandt’s oeuvre. Schwartz puts his finger on a possible re-attribution that should be forthcoming, but isn’t.
Continue reading “364 The transparent connoisseur 5: Keeping the Rembrandt Research Project to its word”
Attempting to pay tribute to the supreme Frits Lugt and his Fondation Custodia and to protest the announced closing of the Institut Néerlandais with which it is joined, Schwartz sets out to describe one example of Lugt’s collecting genius and gets caught up in the subject. Read about two related drawings and a print by and after Constantijn van Renesse, the only Dutch artist of the 17th century from Schwartz’s adopted village of Maarssen. Continue reading “322 Sheer excellence”
Cultural pessimists who are sure of the ongoing decline in our appreciation for art will have no choice, after reading Schwartzlist 321, but to change their tune if not their mind. Continue reading “321 Rembrandt, Rubens, the Beau Sancy and the Jew”