There is a popular and romantic myth about Rembrandt and the Jewish people. One of history's greatest artists, we are often told, had a special affinity for Judaism. With so many of Rembrandt's works devoted to stories of the Hebrew Bible, and with his apparent penchant for Jewish themes and the sympathetic portrayal of Jewish faces, it is no wonder that the myth has endurThere is a popular and romantic myth about Rembrandt and the Jewish people. One of history's greatest artists, we are often told, had a special affinity for Judaism. With so many of Rembrandt's works devoted to stories of the Hebrew Bible, and with his apparent penchant for Jewish themes and the sympathetic portrayal of Jewish faces, it is no wonder that the myth 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 elegantly written and engrossing tour of Jewish Amsterdam—which begins in 1653 as workers are repairing Rembrandt's Portuguese-Jewish neighbor's house and completely disrupting the artist's life and livelihood—Steven Nadler tells us the stories of the artist's portraits of Jewish sitters, of his mundane and often contentious dealings with his neighbors in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam, and of the tolerant setting that city provided for Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews fleeing persecution in other parts of Europe. As Nadler shows, Rembrandt was only one of a number of prominent seventeenth-century Dutch painters and draftsmen who found inspiration in Jewish subjects. Looking at other artists, such as the landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael and Emmanuel de Witte, a celebrated painter of architectural interiors, Nadler is able to build a deep and complex account of the remarkable relationship between Dutch and Jewish cultures in the period, evidenced in the dispassionate, even ordinary ways in which Jews and their religion are represented—far from the demonization and grotesque caricatures, the iconography of the outsider, so often found in depictions of Jews during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.Through his close look at paintings, etchings, and drawings; in his discussion of intellectual and social life during the Dutch Golden Age; and even through his own travels in pursuit of his subject, Nadler takes the reader through Jewish Amsterdam then and now—a trip that, under ever-threatening Dutch skies, is full of colorful and eccentric personalities, fiery debates, and magnificent art....
|Number of Pages||:||250 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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Rembrandt's Jews Reviews
Having just vacationed in Amsterdam, this book was especially interesting and informative and supplemental to my trip. My only hesitation about it is that the title is a little deceptive, in the sense that the book is more a history of Dutch Jews than just about Rembrandt's relationship (or lack thereof) with the Jews of his time. Some parts of the book feel like a collection of articles about different topics, joined together in a book. And there is a great deal of uncertainty (understandably so, when some documents are not available, or dating and provenance of some paintings are not known) in certain parts of the book. Having read several book about Dutch Jewry recently, I've learned, for example, that Spinoza is considered to be buried in three different places (two in Delft and one in the Hague). How can that be? But overall, one learns a great deal from this book; the author has also written about Spinoza in separate books.
Interesting history of the Jews in Amsterdam in the time of Rembrandt. At times a little bit dry.
Excellent account of Jewish life and political treatment of Jews in 17th century Holland, as seen through the lens of artists such as Rembrandt, Saenradem, de Witte, etc.
A very informative read, but not really a unified text. Some wonderful work weaving in the writer's present day journeys along with significant explorations into both broad historical arcs, and the revealing of interesting, detailed discoveries, but an inconsistent flow/strategy. Also, some very interesting potential points to make (since the author floats back and forth between the past and present) about the interconnections to Jewish life today -- assimilation, manners of Jewish expression, development of suburban life -- that are left untapped. Still, highly recommend. (Though I feel like it somehow could use one last, really good scholarly editor to cinch it all together...perhaps why it's now out-of-print?...)
Not only a great work of art criticism, but a great history piece (of Jewish life in the Dutch Golden Age) with a bit of quasi-theology thrown in (the Dutch view of themselves as the "New Israel".)
Very informative about the life of Sephardim in 17th century Amsterdam. Readable too.