I got goose bumps when I read this short article ( In the current issue of The New Yorker) about Rembrandt’s “Self-Portrait”. A long time fan of Peter Schjeldahl’s art criticism. I have read him primarily in The New Yorker, although he writes for other publications as well. This article really knocked my socks off and motivated me to share it with you.
Anyone who has ever stood in front of a Rembrandt painting knows what Peter is saying here about “fire sale of the soul”. Rembrandt’s sensitivity, brush work and virtuosity are deeply moving, not to mention his ability to portray the psychology of the subject. There is the feeling that a real person is there in the museum standing in the frame, a quality you rarely experience with other portraits. What a boon that most museums allow visitors to photograph works using a digital camera sans flash. Although I am a landscape painter I have a prized collection of close-ups of Rembrandt’s brushwork photographed in The Getty, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Louvre. The photos are of gossamer fabrics, glittering jewelry, hair and fur as well as those eyes, oooooo the way he paint’s his subject’s eyes. Every artists that stands in front of one of his paintings is wondering how can a human being do that? Personally I think his skill rates right up there with other wonders of the world or universe………like landing on the moon You may disagree.
The above link will take you to Peter’s writings for The New Yorker.