Rembrandt — Studies in his Varied Approaches to Italian Art 


Rembrandt: Studies in his Varied Approaches to Italian Art explores his engagement with imagery by Italian masters. His references fall into three categories: pragmatic adaptations, critical commentary, and conceptual rivalry. These are not mutually exclusive but provide a strategy for discussion.

This study also discusses Dutch artists’ attitudes toward traveling south, surveys contemporary literature praising and/or criticizing Rembrandt, and examines his art collection and how he used it. It includes an examination of the vocabulary used by Italians to describe Rembrandt’s art, with a focus on the patron Don Antonio Ruffo, and closes by considering the reception of his works by Italian artists.

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Amy Golahny is Richmond Professor Emerita at Lycoming College and Past President of the Historians of Netherlandish Art. She has published extensively on Pieter Lastman, Rembrandt, and other topics.
“Rembrandt himself never went to Italy, but his consciousness of Italian artists resonates throughout his work. That is the subject of this enlightening study by an accomplished scholar of Netherlandish art. Above all, the book reveals how Rembrandt drew ideas for his art from Italian masters, whose works were known to him primarily through prints, and transformed them into a distinct language of his own in a way that pays homage to his sources but with a twist of visual commentary […] One can read the book as a series of essays or use it for reference with the benefit of its up-to-date bibliography. In sum: highly recommended.”
C. W. Talbot, emeritus, Trinity University. In: Choice Reviews, Vol. 58, No. 10 (June 2021).

“This publication is sure to be a necessary resource for any scholar looking to understand one of the most fertile and creative minds of the seventeenth century and the numerous influences that contributed to his endlessly compelling oeuvre.”
Jacquelyn Coutré, Art Institute of Chicago. In: Renaissance and Reformation, Vol. 44, No. 2 (2021), pp. 248–250.

“This is a generous book, clearly aimed at sharing the wealth of information and knowledge Golahny has amassed over the years and at offering a solid, balanced foundation on which future generations may develop new analyses and interpretations. With its comprehensive bibliography, thorough citations, and even explicit guidance on how Golahny’s discussions relate to the existing literature, it is a highly valuable reference for any student of Rembrandt’s work. Its ample illustrations support the author’s visual arguments and make the book accessible to those less familiar with the material.”
Joanna Sheers Seidenstein, Harvard Art Museums. In: HNA Reviews, November 2021.

 List of Illustrations

1 Prologue: Setting the Stage
 1 Who Did, or Did Not, Travel to Italy
 2 Dutch Artists Who Painted Italy at Second Hand
 3 Jacob van Swanenburg and Pieter Lastman in Italy
 4 Advice about Travel
 5 On the Road in Italy: Nicholas Stone Jr.
 6 The Material Evidence: Collecting Italian Art in Holland
 7 Van Mander’s Account of Remarkable Italian Paintings in Dutch Collections
 8 A Sampling of Amsterdam Collections: 1630–1660
 9 Rembrandt at the Art Market
 10 A Contrast in Collecting: Joachim von Sandrart in Amsterdam and Bavaria

2 Attitudes: Critical, Admiring, and Curious toward Rembrandt
 1 Rembrandt’s Acquaintances Condemn His Disregard for Italian Values: Huygens, Sandrart and De Lairesse
 2 Pels, De Decker, and De Geest: Polarizing Attitudes
 3 Rembrandt’s Singular Manner: Houbraken
 4 Rembrandt’s Naturalism in Stefano della Bella’s Model Books
 5 Rembrandt’s Goal in Art

3 Rembrandt’s Collection and How He Used It: the Canonical and the Unusual
 1 Drawing from the Original: Mantegna, Leonardo, Raphael, Titian
 2 Reminiscences and Variations
 3 Life Study Fused with Art
 4 Sculpture as Substitute for Life Study

4 Pragmatic Solutions
 1 Borrowed Plumes Easily Disguised
 2 The Supper at Emmaus of c. 1629
 3 Rembrandt and the Madonna of the Rosary: Structuring the Stage
 4 Judas Returning the 30 Pieces of Silver: Caravaggio and Leonardo da Vinci
 5 Two People in One Frame

5 Appropriating for Commentary: Rembrandt’s Critique of Titian, Raphael, and Leonardo
 1 Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple: the 1626 Painting and the 1635 Etching
 2 The Hundred Guilder Print: Exploiting Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo

6 Appropriation and Deviation: Responding for Alternatives
 1 Diana and Actaeon with Callisto and Nymphs: Referencing the Italians
 2 The Flute Player and Flower Girl: an Alternative to Titian
 3 The Female Nude

7 Rembrandt Perceived by the Italians: Castiglione, the Ruffo Collection, and La Maniera Gagliarda
 1 Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione: Inspired Improvisations
 2 Rembrandt’s Ruffo Series
 3 Abraham Brueghel’s Intermediary Role in the Ruffo Commissions
 4 Guercino: Business-like, Efficient, and Respectful
 5 Preti: Grudging Accommodation
 6 Salvator Rosa: Independent, Arrogant, and Uncooperative
 7 Brandi: Eager to Please
 8 La Maniera Gagliarda
 9 Baciccio: the Last Word

General and professional readers interested in art appropriation, Dutch and Italian art, and Rembrandt. Keywords: Dutch art, artistic rivalry, art literature, Baroque, Rembrandt, Guercino, Ruffo, Giacinto Brandi.
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