Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rembrandt and his pupils

A visit to the Getty today in the rain and fog was worth the trip to see its new show, "Rembrandt and his pupils, a study of drawings". The show is co-curated by Lee Hendricks, who kindly came in on her day off to share with a group of enthusiastic art lovers, how the idea of the show came about and how the curators could effectively exhibit the results of years of research. The main criteria of the show was to educate the public regarding what is a "real" Rembrandt drawing from what was once thought to be a "real" Rembrandt drawing, in their opinion. New technology and research has enabled curators and conservators to begin looking at and examining the drawings in different ways. Hendricks pointed out some tell tale markers, which were debated over the last decade, and singled out a few works to explain the nuances between the work of the master and his students. Very subtle, but clear differences were pointed out amongst the drawings. A few of Rembrandt's pupils went on to very successful careers after their studies with him, but his hand is evident in each of their their works. Amazingly after some minutes, you can begin to recognize the differences yourself. It's very rewarding and exciting to begin to tell the difference between the work in the drawings as you walk through the show. It's an unusual experience to visit an exhibition where you can more than look at a work, but really learn to actually see the mind behind the work. I recommend visiting this extraordinary exhibition and enjoy the fun of quickly becoming an expert on detecting the difference between a work that is actually drawn by Rembrandt or one drawn by his students.
Photo is a drawing of "A woman sleeping" by Rembrandt from the British Museum London, UK

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