Developed especially for young readers, this addition to the First Impressions Introduction to Art series is an exciting biography of one of the world's great artists. It reveals what Rembrandt was really like, how he earned a living in 17th-century Holland, and what qualities of his work make him one of the great artists of all time. 54 illustrations, 32 in full color.
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By a Rembrandt authority and longtime Netherlands resident, the best yet in the ``First Impressions'' series. Schwartz not only relays the most significant events in the master's life, depicts the genius and milieu that engendered his fame, and outlines enough political and social history to give him context- -but also conveys the man's rich complexity, includes sage observations about the difficulty of winnowing facts from legends adhering to the great, offers a succinct overview of schools of art history (describing his own philosophy as a sensible amalgam), and ends with a history of the artist's reputation (fueled, ironically, both by the many misattributions and by their unmaskings). Schwartz includes telling contemporary quotes (the poet Huygens observed that Rembrandt ``combines individual and universal features better than any [classical] Greek painter''); his own uncondescending voice is admirably lucid and intelligent, with a humorous edge. He's also right about Rembrandt's darker side (among other things, he was ``not more scrupulous in financial affairs than he had to be''). Oddly, mention of Amsterdam's Jews is omitted; otherwise, a nearly flawless text, with more emphasis on the art's emotional content than on the artist's techniques. The 54 beautifully reproduced illustrations are well chosen, placed, and captioned; the elegant book design, with borders subtly echoing Rembrandt's signature glow, is outstanding. A must. Art fully cited; index. (Nonfiction. 10+) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From School Library Journal:
Grade 7 Up-- It is relatively rare to find a world scholar writing in such a jargon-free and accessible way about the complexities of a historically significant man and period. Schwartz's explanation of the various ways in which art historians go about interpreting pictures will help readers feel less threatened by any particular dogma, and may even give some the courage to join in the art history detecting game. He presents a Rembrandt with all the flaws and quirks he had, telling an engrossing story that even those who know something about the artist will find hard to put down. Cream-colored frames around each page make the book visually inviting. Each chapter begins with a large illuminated capital, and the reproductions are placed for their visual variety as well as for illuminating points in the text. Many are full page and all are finely printed. Two foldouts of etchings give readers a chance to see up close the magic of Rembrandt's acid-bitten line. This is the very model of a modern monograph. --Kenneth Marantz, Art Education Department, Ohio State University, Columbus
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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