Rembrandt Seen Through Jewish Eyes: The Web Conference


Rembrandt Seen Through Jewish Eyes: The Web Conference


24 January 2022 (8 p.m. Moscow time)
31 January 2022 (8 p.m. Moscow time)
7 February 2022 (8 p.m. Moscow time)
14 February 2022 (8 p.m. Moscow time)

From 19 October 2022 through 15 January 2023 the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow is presenting an exhibition on the meaning of Rembrandt to Jews. With the Jews in his city of Amsterdam Rembrandt had contact of various professional and personal kinds, which will be evoked in a reconstruction of his neighborhood. He painted and etched portraits of Jewish sitters, used Jews as models for face studies and put Jewish figures into genre scenes and Bible compositions. Jews in Amsterdam and elsewhere soon began to see Rembrandt in a different light than other artists. His portrait etchings became models for images of rabbis. Female figures by him began to be called Jewish brides.

In the nineteenth century there was an intensification of the perceived link between Rembrandt and the Jews. He was seen as sympathetic toward the Jews, in a time when this was far from common. To European Jews, including wealthy art collectors, this made him the object of special admiration; to anti-Semites it brought him a measure of disdain. Responding to both these effects, Rembrandt was embraced by generation after generation of Jewish artists, who identified with him in their art and in their lives.

These themes and more will be explored and displayed in the exhibition, whose guest curators are Gary Schwartz and Mirjam Knotter. In preparation for it, the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center has organized a series of lectures on the subject of the exhibition. They will be presented online in four sessions of three half-hour lectures each, on successive Mondays starting on 24 January 2022.

Moderator for all sessions: Gary Schwartz

The Program – with links to recordings under the dates

24 January



31 January



7 February



14 February (the talks will be given in Russian with simultaneous translation into English)





All sessions will begin at

20:00 Moscow time, which is
19:00 in Israel
18:00 in continental Western Europe
17:00 in the United Kingdom
12:00 on the North American east coast
09:00 on the west coast

[These are corrected times. In the initial posting the hours for Western Europe and North America were an hour too late.]

Admission is free. In order to receive Zoom links for all sessions,

Register here


20 thoughts on “Rembrandt Seen Through Jewish Eyes: The Web Conference”

    1. Don’t want to tell this to everyone, Mimi, but they will be recorded and will go onto the museum website and perhaps on mine as well. Gary

      1. Gary veel succes en heb nooit geweten dat er in joodse Kringen speciale sympathie was voor zijn werk. Ivm mijn boek ‘De echo van de zaak Goudstikker’ waarin dus ook de Goering ‘aankoop’ van zijn collectie voor oa Carinhall vroeg ik me dus af of dit ook invloed op zijn (en/of) Hitlers verzamelwoede heeft gehad, in positieve of negatieve zin. Bvd

        1. Dat is vaak een moeilijk te beantwoorden vraag, Pol. Zelden is er een ondubbelzinnige uitspraak over de betekenis van joodszijn – of antisemiet zijn – bij de beslissing een werk van Rembrandt te kopen. Maar de suggestie is soms sterk. Ik ben zeer benieuwd naar je boek.

  1. Hi Garry, The Web Conference is promising. I am most interested to register for January 24 and February 7, but how?

    1. At the very bottom of the program, Eva, there’s a link you can click on to register. It’s very simple.

  2. This looks terrific but I will be teaching class during each session. Any chance they will be recorded and viewable later?? Amazing this exhibit will be in Moscow. How did that happen?
    Happy New Year!…..Bill

    1. It was the wish of the museum to have a Rembrandt exhibition. They first approached Mirjam Knotter of the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. She brought me in as co-guest curator, but soon turned the main function over to me. The particular twist implicit in the title was my idea. The collaboration with Mirjam and with the museum has been a pleasure.

      The webinar will indeed be recorded.

      All the best,

  3. Beste Gary,

    dit wordt een belangrijk en heel interessant project. Daarmee wens ik je veel succes.


  4. This looks a wonderful program, Gary. But it will be 4 am in Melbourne. So I’d like to tap into the recording, if that’s possible. Good luck with it. Charles

    1. Especially for you, Charles, the sessions are going to be recorded and made available afterwards on the museum website and possibly on the Schwartzlist as well. Enjoy the First Djokovichless Open, Gary

  5. What did Haman do? What was he forced to do? What became his fate ? Place those questions in relation to Rembrandt and ….. Then compare Hamans destiny with Arachnes.

  6. Rembrandt, Mordokais triumph, 1641

    These could easily been the words of Velazquez when he completed Philip IV´s tribute
    to his old commander and his victory at Breda.
    But the expression is from the bible and the story of Haman, King Ahasuerus, his queen Esther
    and her cousin the old jew Mordechai.
    The story ends badly for Haman. He is hanged on the very gallows he had prepared for Mordechai.

    “The Nightwatch” is the ’gallows’ for the capitulation scene.
    But making such a comparison raises a problem.
    The words could also be applied to Rembrandt, which Velasquez perceives…

    Velazquez, The fable of Arachne, 1644-48

    Being challenged Velázquez now responds both to Rembrandt and the Dutch painter Angel.
    He does it with his masterful depiction of a spinning wheel. This was just what Angel had asked for in a treatise in 1642.
    He wanted to see the painted movement of a spinning wheel. A task for a master.
    Hearsay or substantial information? We have strong reason to believe that Velázquez searched for any information he could obtain..
    What had Rembrandt and his colleagues really achieved? We can assume the information came from the then
    Spanish southern provinces of the Netherlands. Velázquez wanted all information he could get.
    I am of the opinion that it was then that Velázquez presented ”The fable of Arachne”
    with its message that one should not challenge an eminent master.
    The consequence for Rembrandt was that he would now share the same destiny as Arachne
    – she who challenged Pallas Athene in the art of tapestry making but finally hanged herself with her own thread.
    An appropriate ’theme inside a theme’ from the perspective of Rembrandt’s allusion
    to the story of Haman and his fate.

    Velazquez could just as well have argued that Rembrandt acted in the same way as Haman !!!!

    1. The temporal connections of Hamann, Arachne, Night Watch etc. don’t really fit. But interesting – the parallel of Velazquez’s Arachne and Angel’s “Lof der Schilder-Konst”. Could Velazquez have had knowledge of Angel’s writing? It was quite popular in the Dutch-speaking world – at least in art-interested circles. Velazquez undoubtedly had connections to this discourse area via Antwerp – via the workshop of Rubens and his pupils, with whom he worked closely at times.

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