What Rembrandt saw

The great Protestant painter

Rembrandt’s Eyes, by Simon Schama

In this lavish new book, Simon Schama explores the boisterous, dynamic, capitalist society of 17th-century Holland through the eyes of the artist who, more than any other, has become synonymous with its vividly expressive pictorial culture. This biography of Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) provides the pretext for a wide-ranging discussion of an era ripe with invention in science, economics and the arts.

The title of the book, printed on the dust jacket over a close-up of one of Rembrandt’s many penetrating self-portraits, alludes to the power of sight itself, a recurring metaphor (along with its opposite, blindness) both in Rembrandt’s work and in Schama’s elucidation of it.

 

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