"As is always true of Van de Wetering’s writings, his analyses are based on close, repeated looking at Rembrandt’s painting, and looking with the eye of a talented portrait painter. His ability to convey in words what he is convinced Rembrandt was working toward in paint carries conviction. Best of all, his writing forces one back to examine Rembrandt’s paintings, or at least the works in reproduction." - Catherine B. Scallen, Case Western Reserve University, Renaissance Quarterly Vol. LXX, No. 4
"Our overall view of Rembrandt is now on a new plateau and it is appropriate to salute Ernst van de Wetering for his remarkable achievement." -- Burlington Magazine
"This lavishly illustrated book is a rare insight into Rembrandt work process and painting theory. A definitive must-have for all serious artists!" -- The Art of Watercolour
"Rembrandt: The Painter Thinking is a product of a lifetime of study of Rembrandt, full of wise insights and with a freshness of approach that has long characterised Van de Wetering's work on the artist." -- The Art Newspaper Review
5 stars -- NRC Handelsblad
"This is the first time that such an elaborate monography is dedicated to the thinking process of the master. A unique approach!" -- Christus Rex Boekbesprekingen
"Een mooi uitgevoerd en fraai geïllustreerd boek" -- NBD Biblion
"After the justly praised study of the artist’s practice, Rembrandt: The Painter at Work, Ernst van de Wetering has now produced a no less admirable companion volume devoted to the artist’s theory. Even if he had not played a major part in redefining Rembrandt’s painted oeuvre in the six volumes of the Corpus of Rembrandt’s Paintings, these two complementary books alone would establish his crucial role in understanding Rembrandt’s art." -- Burlington Magazine, February 2017
Even during the artist's lifetime, contemporary art lovers considered Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) to be an exceptional artist. In this revelatory sequel to the acclaimed Rembrandt: The Painter at Work, renowned Rembrandt authority Ernst van de Wetering investigates the painter's considerations that determined the striking changes in his development from an early age onwards.
This gorgeously illustrated book explores how Rembrandt achieved mastery by systematic exploration of the 'foundations of the art of painting'. According to written sources from the seventeenth century, which were largely misinterpreted until now, these 'foundations' were considered essential at that time. From his first endeavours in painting, Rembrandt embarked on a journey past these foundations, thus becoming the 'pittore famoso', whom Count Cosimo the Medici visited at the end of his life. Rembrandt never stopped searching for solutions to the pictorial problems that confronted him; this led over time to radical changes that cannot simply be attributed to stylistic evolution or natural development.
In a quest as rigorous and novel as the artist's, Van de Wetering reveals how Rembrandt became the revolutionary painter that would continue to fascinate the art world. This ground breaking exploration reconstructs Rembrandt's theories and methods, shedding new light both on the artist's exceptional accomplishments and on the theory and practice of painting in the Dutch Golden Age.
Ernst van de Wetering (1938) is emeritus professor of art history. He became a team-member of the Rembrandt Research Project in 1968 and its chairman in 1993. Originally trained as a painter and art-historian, he worked from 1969-1987 in the Amsterdam based Central Research Laboratory of Objects of Art and Science. From 1987-2002 he taught at the University of Amsterdam. In 2003/2004 he was Slade Professor at the University of Oxford. He is considered one of the world's foremost specialists on Rembrandt and his work. In 1997, he published the widely acclaimed monograph Rembrandt: The Painter at Work (2nd ed. 2008). 2014 saw the publication of his monumental oeuvre catalogue Rembrandt's Paintings Revisited: A Complete Survey; the concluding volume of A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings.