Rembrandt's Themes Life into Art Richard Verdi

Publication date:
15 Oct 2014
Yale University Press
308 pages: 241 x 165mm
60 color + 170 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

Rembrandt van Rjin (1606–1669) was among the few celebrated old masters who enjoyed considerable freedom in his choice of subject matter. Living and working in the Protestant Netherlands, he painted largely for private patrons and the open market, selecting his own subjects in the hope of finding buyers. Although he depicted biblical, historical, and mythological themes in emulation of the great artists of the past, his subjects often focus on fundamental human experiences and emotions that transcend their literary sources. Even when working within the confines of specific commissions, Rembrandt managed to imbue his paintings with deeper, personal meanings. These works reveal the artist’s profound humanity and at times reflect the circumstances of his life. This illuminating study explores some of the central themes of Rembrandt’s paintings, drawings, and etchings: grand – love, sin, repentance and forgiveness, adultery, fatherhood, and the conflict between the generations – as well as mundane and idiosyncratic. It demonstrates how Rembrandt’s subjects can offer new revelations about this complex artist.

Richard Verdi is former professor of fine art and director of Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham. 

“This volume brings to print a series of public lectures given in 1986 that capture his personal, insightful and distinct approach. The result is a meditative, beautifully illustrated addition to the literature on Rembrandt”—Lloyd Dewitt, Burlington Magazine