Blog / Looking at art: Rembrandt

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By Wendy

We spend a lot of time looking at art around here. But we never tire of listening to our senior curator Sarah Schroth tell us stories about art.
Last Friday, Nasher Museum staffers took a field trip to the “Rembrandt in America” show at the North Carolina Museum of Art and followed Sarah around the galleries. We loved listening to her talk about the line of a jaw, the thickness of paint, the black-on-black style that shows off Rembrandt’s ability to paint fabrics and textures.
Sarah brought us to one of her favorite paintings, “Lucretia,” (pictured above) a young woman depicted moments after plunging a dagger into her heart.
“Look at that sleeve!” Sarah said. “I mean, is that perfection, or what?”
Sarah pointed out the tears welling in Lucretia’s eyes, the jewel on her forehead, the light that hits her eyelid but leaves her face in half shadow. Thick dabs of paint make light glint off the gold chain around Lucretia’s neck. The collar–“isn’t that a killer?”
“It’s a sad picture,” Sarah said. “It’s a tragic picture.”
Sarah is a bit of an expert on Rembrandt van Rijn, who was born in 1606, just seven years after Diego Velázquez–the subject of Sarah’s blockbuster 2008 show, “El Greco to Velázquez: Art during the Reign of Philip III.” She told The News & Observer recently that Rembrandt was “one of history’s greatest visual storytellers.”
“Rembrandt in America” is on view at the N.C. Museum of Art through January 22, 2012.
When you go, remember that Rembrandt has been an inspiration and influence on the great American painter Barkley L. Hendricks, whose solo show opened at the Nasher Museum in 2008 and traveled around the country. Watch a video of Barkley’s take on Rembrandt here.

IMAGE: Rembrandt van Rijn, Lucretia, 1666, Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

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