Joachim von Sandrart, Filippo Baldinucci, and Arnold Houbraken
The prodigious talent of Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (ca. 1606–1669), along with his disregard for many of the artistic conventions of his day, astonished, delighted, and dismayed his contemporaries. The full gamut of their reactions is revealed in these three biographies, which were first published in the decades following Rembrandt’s death and appear here in English for the first time in their entirety.
These extraordinary documents, by German, Italian, and Dutch authors schooled in the conventions of neoclassicism, provide richly varied accounts of Rembrandt’s impact on the art world of his time. While the authors for the most part acknowledge his brilliance, sometimes grudgingly, they are wary of Rembrandt’s reliance on personal talent rather than on the rules of art. So, too, are they annoyed at his skill in manipulating the art market. Filled with colorful and amusing anecdotes, these critiques, handsomely complemented here with vivid illustrations, bring into sharper focus the originality and psychological acuity that remain Rembrandt’s trademark to this day.
An informative introduction by the scholar Charles Ford situates these texts in the art-historical context of the seventeenth century.
Joachim von Sandrart (1606–1688) was a German painter and scholar of art. Filippo Baldinucci (1624–1697) was a Florentine painter and scholar linked with the Medici. Arnold Houbraken (1660–1719) was a Dutch painter, printmaker, and writer. Charles Ford is a lecturer in art history at University College London, where he specializes in seventeenth-century Dutch art.