PRINT January 2005



Rembrandt has been exhibited on many occasions and under many rubrics in recent years. But “Rembrandt’s Late Religious Portraits,” an international loan exhibition organized by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, in association with the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, will be unique.

The focus is on only seventeen paintings. They are all approximately life-size portrayals of individuals (mostly men, and including a 1661 self-portrait of the artist posing as Saint Paul), depicted at half or three-quarter length, obscurely dressed, face and prominent hands illuminated, often with an attribute. Singular images such as these constitute the core production of Rembrandt’s later years. As early as 1670 an unsympathetic commentator had remarked of paintings like the 1653 Aristotle with a Bust of Homer (similar, though not in the exhibition) that high art did not lie in “draped

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