Rembrandt van Rijn, The Feast of Belshazzar (c. 1635)
Suggested Reading: Rembrandt's Jews by Steven Nadler (2003)
Hey Everyone! So I know that single works have art have been thin on the ground for the blog recently but I am in the last week of working on my honors thesis that I keep blabbing on about so I am not exactly rolling in free time. I promise next week, AFTER GRADUATION and the ensuing festivities I will be back to writing about one work of art a day and explaining all the works that have been requested recently and I haven't gotten to. I want to thank you for your patience. Today, however, I am going to present a book I just found that pertains to my thesis about Jewish Patronage because I think it is an important book and the author is a professor at my school, the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
This book discusses the relationship between the great Dutch master, Rembrandt van Rijn, and the Jewish luminaries that made up a large part of his close circles. Though Rembrandt's relationship with Jews has been discussed before, this work, though done from a philosophical point of view, deals directly with how those influences come through Rembrandt's art and some of his masterpieces.
Steven Nadler is a professor f philosophy and director of the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author, most recently of Spinoza: A Life (winner of the 2000 Koret Book Award for Biography) and Spinoza's Heresy: Immortality and the Jewish Mind. Rembrandt's Jews was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Rembrandt's Jews by Steven Nadler (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003)
"With so many of Rembrandt's works devoted to stories from the Hebrew Bible, and with his apparent penchant for Jewish themes and his sympathetic portrayals of Jewish faces, it is no wonder that the myth of Rembrandt's special affinity for Judaism has endured for centuries. Rembrandt's Jews puts this myth to the test as it examines both the legend and the reality of Rembrandt's relationship to Jews and Judaism. In his engrossing tour of Jewish Amsterdam Steven Nadler tells us the stories of Rembrandt's portraits of Jewish sitters, of his mundane and often contentious dealings with his neighbors in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam, and the tolerant setting Amsterdam provided for the city's Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews. Nadler takes the reader through Jewish Amsterdam, both past and present - a trip that, under ever-threatening Dutch skies, is full of colorful and eccentric personalities, fiery debates and magnificent art." - book jacket
Posted by Lydia at 5:09 PM