“Though deficient in beauty”: a documentary history and interpretation of Rembrandt’s 1654 painting of Bathsheba

“‘Though deficient in beauty’: a documentary history and interpretation of Rembrandt’s 1654 painting of Bathsheba,” in: Rembrandt’s Bathsheba reading King David’s letter, ed. Ann Jensen Adams, Cambridge, England (Cambridge University Press) 1998, pp. 176-203

For a volume on Rembrandt’s Bathsheba in the Cambridge University Press series Masterpieces of Western painting, edited by Ann Adams, I contributed an essay on the provenance and critical history of the painting, ending with an interpretation of my own.

Schwartz 1998 Though deficient in beauty – Bathsheba

413 Gazing through King David’s eyes at irresistible beauty

Pondering an old, bitter debate, Schwartz puts together some previously unconnected pieces. In one year, 1654, Rembrandt painted two bathing women who make you think of sex, both of whom have been linked to models in classical antiquity. Leading to a daring conclusion.

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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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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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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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400 Rembrandt in the garbage

Half a year ago I missed an anniversary. 10 May 2021 was 25 years to the day since the appearance of the pilot of the Schwartzlist. It was an article in the Cultural Supplement of the daily NRC Handelsblad, with the title “Rembrandt bij het grofvuil” (Rembrandt in the garbage). On the basis of that publication, the newspaper offered me a bi-weekly column for a year. I wrote the columns in English, to be translated into Dutch by the paper. Starting with the first of the columns, “Vermeers razernij” (Vermeer’s frenzy), on the 5th of July 1996, I mailed the English version to my 50 or so email correspondents of the time. For the milestone installment 400, I am publishing the pilot. Continue reading “400 Rembrandt in the garbage”