I thought you might like to see some of the artists who have influenced me over the course of my career. We will go from oldest to youngest over the next few weeks.
First up is Rembrandt, 1606-1669. Rembrandt was actually his first name. His full name was Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. A Dutch master of oil painting, drawing and intaglio (etching) Rembrandt focused primarily on the powerful emotional effect of light on form.
Bathsheba has a letter demanding that she go see King David. Her husband, Uriah, at David’s direction, is about to be sent to the front lines of war, where he will be killed. The resignation and depression in her face and body is perfect. All the sensual nudity in the world could not overcome that, and Rembrandt illustrates it perfectly.
In this ink wash image Rembrandt uses the ink to let us know her hair is dark, but the rest of the image he is simply depicting shadows. The deep shadows in her eyes, the simple rounded strokes over her shoulders and hip and the wider, darker strokes below her all contribute to you feeling her weight pressing down, making the title completely believable.
Rembrandt was a master printmaker. His etchings were very influential on me pursuing printmaking as an undergraduate and graduate student. My Grandfather had 4 prints of his (copies, not originals) that I saw in his home from an early age.
The scene above is the moment when Pilate presents Jesus to the crowd and asks whether he should be let go or condemned. We know the answer obviously. The etching actually went through more than 2 versions, more like 8, but these two are the defining images of the print because they represent 2 very different approaches to the story. The first is a scene you are witnessing. The second is a scene you are participating in. There is no barrier preventin you being in the crowd, preventing you being the one Pilate is expecting an answer from. Combine that immediacy with the two dark, foreboding tunnels into the underworld below Pilate and Jesus and you have a choice to make which direction you will take.
I once took a semester long seminar at the Boston Museum of Art through the school I was going to at the time, Brandeis University. We were able to study the prints of Rembrandt, including these, close up, with magnifying glasses. We also got to study Durer and Goya in the same glass. It was a profound experience for me as a young artist.
- Week #10 – Coco Larrain
- Week #9 – Nina Levy
- Week #8 – Andy Goldsworthy
- Week #7 – Wayne Thiebaud
- Week #6 – Richard Diebenkorn
- Week #5 – Roy Lichtenstein
- Week #4 – Thomas Hart Benton
- Week #3 – Edward Hopper
- Week #2 – Henri Matisse
- Week #1 – Rembrandt