CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Rembrandt and the aesthetics of technique

Exhibition: 1 September - 10 December 2006


Ivan Gaskell, Margaret S. Winthrop Curator in the Department of European Painting, Sculpture and Decorative Arts.
William W. Robinson, Maida and George Abrams Curator in the Department of Drawings
assisted by Willemijn Lindenhovius and Edward Wouk.

From the museum website

Selected primarily from Harvard University Art Museums collections, Rembrandt and the Aesthetics of Technique will invite visitors to engage intensively with more than 30 drawings, paintings, and prints by the master and his workshop. The exhibition will focus primarily on the role of techniqueā€”the artistā€™s manipulation of his materialsā€”in enabling the innovative visual effects that distinguish Rembrandtā€™s creative achievement.

The skill of Rembrandtā€™s technique tends to be overshadowed by his mastery of so many other elements including invention, iconographical innovation, expression, and others. Yet technical factorsā€”such as the use of pen strokes that are thick in some areas and thin elsewhere, broken or continuous, densely packed or widely dispersedā€”determine much of the aesthetic impact of his, or any artistā€™s production. The exhibition will feature several small groups of works whose juxtaposition will encourage the visitor to assess the contribution of discrete technical decisions to the realization of the artistā€™s intention. A brochure accompanies this exhibition.