141 Rembrandt’s secrets

In the winter of 1977 I walked into the Orange County Museum and within a few paces came face to face with Rembrandt’s magnum opus The Raising of Lazarus. The texture and luminosity of the painting blew me away. All I could do was stand before it in total wonder. Later I realized I had a book with a reproduction of the painting but I didn’t recognize it. It apparently is very difficult to reproduce. The version here captures but a faint shadow of the power of the original.

I received a commission to do a figurative work without any provisions except that it illustrate in some way the mission of Christ. I accepted this unexpected challenge without full confidence I could do the subject justice. I have since been studying the paintings of Rembrandt and feel I can now move forward with some assurance that I can fulfill the commission in an artistic and professional manner. I have no illusions about approximating Rembrandt’s mastery. But I have made certain deductions regarding his work that will help me in my attempt which I will share in upcoming blog entries.

The book Rembrandt: the Painter at Work gave multiple insights into Rembrandt’s technique although I think the author missed the most critical aspect regarding Rembrandt’s methods. I will give a hint about the missing ingredient: chalk (no surprise for those who follow this blog). How Rembrandt mixed chalk with linseed oil is of critical importance. The accuracy of my deductions will be made apparent as the commission unfolds. Stay tuned.

Brad Teare October 2013

Image courtesy of Google Images

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Updated: 22nd September 2020
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