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Rembrandt's Jews Rembrandt's Jews

by Nadler, Steven

With so many of Rembrandt's paintings devoted to stories of the Bible, and with his apparent penchant for Biblical themes and the sympathetic portrayal of Jewish faces, it is no wonder that many people are struck by the master painterís perceived interest in Amsterdamís Jews. History buffs well-acquainted with the story of the seventeenth century Dutch will follow the authorís original approach to his subject matter with great interest. The author in his book Rembrandt's Jews examines Rembrandt's relationship to Jews and Judaism, both the legend and the reality. His elegantly written and engrossing story of Jewish Amsterdam begins in 1653 as workers are repairing Rembrandt's Portuguese-Jewish neighbour's house and completely disrupting the artist's life and livelihood. The author tells his readerís the stories of the artist's portraits of Amsterdamís Jews, of his mundane and sometimes contentious dealings with his neighbours in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam, and of the tolerant setting that Amsterdam provided for Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews fleeing persecution in other parts of Europe. The author shows that Rembrandt was only one of a number of prominent seventeenth-century Dutch painters and draftsmen who found inspiration in Jewish (and Biblical) subjects. Looking at other artists, such as the landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael and Emmanuel de Witte, a celebrated painter of architectural interiors, the author builds a deep and complex account of the remarkable relationship between Dutch and Jewish cultures in the period, evidenced in the dispassionate, even ordinary ways in which Jews and their religion are represented. Through his close look at paintings, etchings, and drawings; in his discussion of intellectual and social life during the Dutch Golden Age; and even through his own travels in pursuit of his subject, the author takes his readers through Jewish Amsterdam then and now, a trip that is full of colourful and eccentric personalities, fiery debates, and magnificent art.

Paperback, 280 pages, Illustrated with 16 color plates and 32 halftones, selected bibliography, notes, index, paperback

USD 19.95 / CAD 24.95

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