"Save Rembrandt from the Experts"
Nigel Konstam Exposes the Errors of Modern Rembrandt Scholarship

REMBRANDT BEYOND THE 20TH CENTURY A real reason to rejoice on Rembrandt's 400th birthday.
REMBRANDT BEYOND THE 20TH CENTURY A real reason to rejoice on Rembrandt's 400th birthday.

SYNOPSIS:

THE 20TH CENTURY INTRODUCED MANY REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS INTO ART. THE NEW CRITICAL THEORIES ARE ENSHRINED IN WOLFFLIN'S "THE PRINCIPLES OF ART HISTORY". HE AND HIS FOLLOWERS HAVE CONSCIOUSLY OR SUBCONSCIOUSLY WANTED TO RECRUIT THE GREAT REMBRANDT INTO THIS NEW SYSTEM OF BELIEFS BUT REMBRANDT'S WHOLE PHILOSOPHY AND ARTISTIC MAKE-UP DO NOT FIT. THE REMBRANDT CRITICS ARE TRYING TO FORCE A SQUARE PEG INTO A ROUND HOLE. THEY ARE DESTROYING HIM AND MUST BE STOPPED.

In the 20th century and the beginning of this century Rembrandt critics have been more restrictive than ever before with both Rembrandt's paintings and drawings. They accuse him of signing works that they think were not genuinely his; naturally this reflects on his character and general trustworthiness. They have reduced the number of accepted Rembrandt paintings by approximately 70% and the drawings by nearly 50%.

With the help of new computer technology (Job) we will demonstrate how the acknowledged experts have made many grave errors in their assessment of the master. In less than an hour of DVD Presentations, we can show, the errors that have caused his eclipse (see note 1.). Rembrandt is perhaps the greatest of all artists; certainly the most relevant old master to the modern world. Rembrandt, like his contemporaries in the world of science, marks the turning point where the modern era begins. His philosophy of art is therefore very important to us. It has been turned upside down by the attempt to adapt him to the modern creed.

The history of the misinterpretation of Rembrandt goes back to 1915 when Heinrich Wolfflin published the book 'The Principles of Art History'. His principles have dominated art-history and art-historical training ever since.

He proposed a new approach to art criticism that was to keep up with Cubism and other art movements of that time. It was an approach that looked at the abstract qualities of a work and not at the human aspect. In Rembrandt's art the human aspect, the interaction between his figures, brilliantly rendered by Rembrandt's unique spacial sense - his understanding of the human condition, and his ability to observe human nature and respond to it with profound empathy, are what make Rembrandt the genius he is. To misinterpret, or miss alltogether the humanity in Rembrandt's work is to lose sight of his genius and to miss the whole point.

In The Virgin and Child section, we will see a mother exhausted by mothering. It is not the usual 'Virgin and Child' relationship of "Art". However Rembrandt is showing us an important truth about mothering. Rembrandt life's experience (losing children and eventually his beloved wife as well) is the larger subject of this drawing. But the Rembrandt specialist does not see Rembrandt's humanity, he sees 'lines of splintery angularity' and disapproves!

History-painting was regarded as the highest ambition for a painter prior to Wolfflin. Rembrandt spent most of his time and energy on biblical subjects (history-painting). To check out Rembrandt's brilliant interpretation of the Bible see:- The Death-bed of David. Reading Wolfflin's book you can see why scholars have gone so very wrong.

The scholars are concerned to create a smooth evolution for Rembrandt so they have dated his drawings according to superficial style. The experts believe that the biblical scenes you will see (in Mirrors) were drawn by Rembrandt and came from his imagination (out of his head). We will be showing that quite the opposite was true of Rembrandt. Rembrandt posed groups of models, drawing from life. He had an obvious abhorrence of working from imagination (see Imagination for the documentary evidence ).

In this section we also demonstrate the huge difference in quality we have to expect between Rembrandt as the observer and Rembrandt as the inventor. When he had reality to observe he was incomperable. When he was forced by circumstance to invent, we feel his disinterest/even scorn. When scholars come to accept this difference they will have to reverse their recent deattributions. We may hope in time that Rembrandt will recover his status as an admirably honest artist. >

In the Mirrors section we demonstrate that the stylistic dating system is wrong.
Note 2

 

  • 08:14 - 16.02.2010

    Nigel's new YouTube Video comments on the Getty Exhibition of 2010 Rembrandt and Bol

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  • 10:29 - 24.11.2008

    Take link to see video
    Recent video (Takes only 2 minutes to watch) by Nigel Konstam

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  • 10:57 - 04.07.2008

    See Nigel's YouTube Contribution to the campaign to unseat Sir Nicholas from his 21 Year reign at the Tate Gallery London. Sir Nicholas Serota Considers a New Aquisition for the Tate Gallery

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  • 23:00 - 09.04.2007

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    The recent 2 x 60min Channel 4 documentary (shown July 21st, 28th 2007)
    (made by Lion Television) including Nigel Konstam's contribution to our understanding of the art of ancient Greece (the revolutionary demonstration of why we can be certain that Phidias and his workshop used body casts as the basis of there life-size, sculptural compositions) in Part II.


    You can see the whole story in my book;- SCULPTURE, the Art and the Practice, 2nd edition ISBN 0 – 9523568 or, less completely, on the website www.verrocchio.co.uk

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  • 09:53 - 12.10.2007

    Click here to watch 5 minute video on the Adoration

    National Gallery Rejects The Adoration

     National Gallery Rejects The Adoration - see video on its web site

    There are two versions of The Adoration of the Shepherds, one in Munich and the second in the National Gallery (London). Both were once attributed to Rembrandt: The Munich version is still a Rembrandt. The London version has been de-attributed by the Rembrandt Research Project (RRP) in spite of the fact that the National Gallery experts examination of the materials confirmed that the painting was from Rembrandt's studio. The object of this demonstration is to prove that the London painting is truly a Rembrandt though the RRP insists that this version cannot possibly be by him.

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    On the right of the photograph you see a maquette made from the figures and architecture in the Munich painting, that Rembrandt observed and painted direct from life. A cow and a basket also form a part of the composition.

    The reflected part of the photograph you see in the mirror (on the left) matches up with the subject matter of the London painting to such a degree that we cannot doubt that Rembrandt (or whoever else was painting from Rembrandt's precise position) painted what he saw in the mirror. As the use of a mirror can be demonstrated many times in Rembrandt's accepted drawings it is most rational to assume that Rembrandt stayed in the same position and painted both paintings; probably concurrently, with the same palette and brushes.

    It is amusing to note that while the humans are static, only the cow moved: the hats of the figures remain the same, the basket on the post is seen in elevation in the Munich version and in plan in the London version, the lantern is still carried by the man with the broad brimmed hat, lots of tiny details are transmuted but most of all the infinitely complex space relationship between the figures remains constant.

    By understanding the extreme complexity of the task of constructing the London subject from the Munich painting, we can be certain that a mirror was used.(This is no simple print image. It is a reversal of a new point of view of the same very complex, three dimensional group we see in the Munich painting.) From this understanding we not only regain a lost Rembrandt, we demonstrate that the impressionistic style of the London painting is also Rembrandt's. Thus widening the stylistic spectrum that has been imposed arbitarily by the RRP.

    Furthermore it is proved that Rembrandt worked from a theatrical-type production. I believe he set up live models dressed with costumes (mentioned in his inventory of 1656) in the adoration paintings, I believe the scene was staged in a barn. These tableaux-vivants, the very life's blood of Rembrandt's work as artist and teacher, are implicitly denied by the RRP and their followers, who are keepers of Rembrandt drawings in the museums: a fundamental error, which invalidates many of the experts' judgements over the last 100 years.

     

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    Two legitimate questions may arise from this demonstration 1. did mirrors of this size exist in Rembrandt's time? Answer � not made from one sheet of glass � this large mirror was probably made of polished metal. And 2. Why should he work from an inadequate reflection of his models when he had a group to observe direct from life? Answer � Rembrandt was not alone in the barn. There are student versions of this same scene, both drawn and painted, that show that students were working side by side with the master, each with their own individual viewpoint. This would have inhibited Rembrandt's freedom to move himself or change the group of models. Alternatively, it may just be Rembrandt's explorative spirit that drove him to this single experiment, which he never repeated in painting, but many times while drawing.

     

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    If you have doubts please look at the rest of this website before submitting your questions.

    It is my belief that the other end of the spectrum of style in Rembrandt's paintings should also be redefined by testing a painting in The Wallace Collection: The Uncharitable Servant. This painting was once the most highly valued Rembrandt in the world. It has been described as Rembrandt at the extreme limits of his ability, it is not typical of Rembrandt but Rembrandt is a most varied artist and we need to define the outer limits of his variability as precisely as possible. If The Uncharitable Servant, was put through autoradiographic tests this would show us the way the painting had been built up right from the original drawing on canvas, thus establishing a clear attribution. The result of this could be to re-inflate Rembrandt's oeuvres and reputation back to where they both stood 50 years ago. If the London painting turns out not to be a Rembrandt the case for widening the spectrum towards a loose impressionistic style remains imperative.

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