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216 × 138 × 20 mm
216 pages
59 illustrations, 50 in colour
01 Nov 2017
Renaissance Lives

Rembrandt’s Holland Larry Silver

Rembrandt van Rijn and the Netherlands grew up together. The artist, born in Leiden in 1606, lived during the tumultuous period of the Dutch Revolt and the establishment of the independent Dutch Republic. He moved to Amsterdam, a cosmopolitan centre of world trade, and became the city’s most fashionable portraitist. His attempts to establish himself with the powerful court at The Hague failed, however, and the final decade of his life was marked by financial hardship and personal tragedy.

Rembrandt’s Holland considers anew the life and work of this celebrated painter as it charts his career alongside the visual culture of urban Amsterdam and the new Dutch Republic. It brings to light his problematic relationship with the ruling court at The Hague and re-examines how his art developed, from large-scale, detailed religious imagery to more personal drawings and etchings, moving self-portraits and heartfelt close-ups of saintly figures. Featuring up-to-date scholarship and in-depth analysis of Rembrandt’s major works, as well as numerous beautiful images, Rembrandt’s Holland is essential reading for art students and those who enjoy the work of the Dutch Masters.

‘Silver balances discussion of the social context of Rembrandt’s life and art admirably throughout these chapters, and the thematic approach allows him to consider works of art from different aspects, adding to the depth of presentation . . . Here Silver’s lucid prose and engaged eye help bring these works to vivid life, especially important in the many cases where works are discussed but not illustrated. Rembrandt’s Holland is a welcome and refreshing addition to the vast scholarly literature on the artist, offering an accessible, well-rounded picture of Rembrandt, his art, and his society.’ — Renaissance Quarterly

‘an accessible, concise, up-to-date and well-written introductory study that firmly situates Rembrandt’s life and work within Dutch history and society . . . Silver weaves together a biographical sketch, sensitive analyses of artworks, and a comprehensive overview of Dutch politics, society, religion, and artistic culture . . . He covers extraordinary ground in a brief book, laying out for the general reader the trajectory of Rembrandt’s art and career.’ — Historians of Netherlandish Art Book Review

‘A savvy, succinct overview. Silver relates larger issues in politics and religion to specific works by Rembrandt. He is not afraid to go out on a limb, making his text all the more interesting. His sensitive descriptions of art works add depth to his account.’ — Gary Schwartz, art historian

‘Rembrandt's fascination with the exotic and his mania as a collector are well known . . . He lived in a land that was in the front ranks regarding cartography and science as well as religious toleration, and Silver catches all these exciting currents and shows how the art under discussion reflects the complications, the comedies and tragedies of a well-studied but elusive life. Silver offers an easy introduction to the leading man and to the world in which he lived.’ — The Sixteenth Century Journal

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Larry Silver is the Farquhar Professor of Art History at the University of Pennsylvania and a specialist in Dutch and Flemish paintings. He is the author or co-author of numerous books, including Transformation: Jews and Modernity (2001), Rubens, Velázquez, and the King of Spain (2014) and Rembrandt’s Faith (2009).


Introduction: Stirrings in a New Dutch Nation

1 Representing Amsterdam’s Citizens

2 Amsterdam’s Religious Stew

3 Rembrandt and the Orange Court

4 Rembrandt’s World




Photo Acknowledgements