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.

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