Goodrich writes that he was drawn in particular to Rembrandt who "never shied from sentiment and spectacle, but his muscular drawing and color impart a striking gravity to 'Susanna' (1636); no painting here surpasses the weighty drama of its huddled, leaning figure. Hanging alongside, his small, early 'Simeon’s Song of Praise' (1631) could be the ultimate lesson in multi-figure composition: a tilted ring of people—variously stretching, hunching, and leaning—holds beneath the lunging verticals of an immense interior; dramatic contrasts of light fix each person’s rhythmic disposition. (To appreciate how remarkable this work is, compare it to a work by his student, Nicolaes Maes, across the gallery. Maes’ darks are merely dark, not colorful, and his unweighted colors fail to build in sequences that would make any element necessary or unique.)"
Laura Gilbert blogs about two rarely seen small-scale portraits by Frans Hals in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Gilbert notes that "In the museum's huge, 228-work 'Age of Rembrandt' show in 2007, these roughly 9-by-6.5-inch paintings of Petrus Scriverius and his wife, Anna van der Aar, were unexpected standouts... yet [are] hardly ever on view." The museum website identifies Petrus Scriverius as "a distinguished historian, poet, and scholar of classical literature. His wife, Anna van der Aar, was the daughter of a Leiden city councilman."
View detailed images on the Metropolitan Museum of Art website:
Altoon Sultan blogs about Polish poet and essayist Zbigniew Herbert's essays on Dutch Golden Age Painting.
Sultan writes: "Herbert takes us on a deep tour of Dutch 17th century painting in his 1991 book Still Life with a Bridle... he aims to write about Dutch 17th century painters in a down to earth way, not romanticizing their lives... What we see in Dutch paintings are everyday things, ordinary views."
Thomas Micchelli writes about Rembrandt's Self-Portrait from Kenwood House, London, on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York through May 20, 2012.
Micchelli notes: "This painting is one of the artist's richest and most profound self-portraits, rendered in earth tones softly illuminated by raking, flaxen light. Rembrandt, who would live for only three or four more years, may be staring mortality in the face, but his expression bespeaks stillness and calm, even as his posture – chest forward and arms akimbo — betrays a subtle, ineradicable haughtiness."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.