The research and study to write this monumental art history book, Rembrandt, The Painter Thinking must have taken years by author Ernst van de Wetering. Nevertheless, Wetering states early in the book that much of the material has been published by him in previous publications and in this volume he compiles the result of his research. The book is very extensive and is a scholarly volume, suitable in art school libraries, public libraries, museums and painters’ bookshelves.
“This book concentrates on Rembrandt’s art-theoretical thinking in relation to his most important focus, the art of history painting and related types of painting.”
Nevertheless, dedicated art lovers will also enjoy this volume and will find a great deal of fascinating reading material. Hundreds of illustrations ranging in size from small thumbnail to full-page photos of paintings will give meaning to this book; these illustrations help reading the text, which may be a little dry without them, including many facts and many, many quotations. The illustrations are mostly paintings with some drawings and etching. Most of them are by Rembrandt but Wetering included artworks by Rembrandt’s seventeenth century contemporary painters. The text is extremely detailed; art students will certainly benefit. The images range widely but most are taken from the Bible and mythology. Hundreds of notes and three appendices complete this wonderful volume.