Rembrandt and the Aesthetics of Technique
This exhibition marks the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt van Rijn’s birth. With more than 30 artworks drawn from the collections of the Art Museums and Harvard’s Houghton Library and enhanced by temporary and long-term loans, it invites viewers to engage intensively with drawings, prints, and a painting by Rembrandt and with works by his pupils and contemporaries within a carefully argued theoretical framework. The arrangement of the works in small groups is designed to prompt comparisons of specific physical characteristics of the works and reflections on the artists’ purposeful manipulation of their material constituents. In each case, these precise details are only accurately discernible in the original. An accompanying essay by exhibition co-organizer Ivan Gaskell entitled “Rembrandt, Ingenuity, and Skill” argues for the establishment of a new definition of genius that would promote attention to the skill manifested in the details of the works rather than distract from it. A brochure accompanies this exhibition.
Organized by Ivan Gaskell, Margaret S. Winthrop Curator of Painting, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts, and William W. Robinson, Maida and George Abrams Curator of Drawings, assisted by Willemijn Lindenhovius, Lynn and Philip A. Straus Curatorial Intern, Department of Drawings, and Edward Wouk, Mellon Foundation Intern in the Department of Painting, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts.