Rembrandt in Context: His Horizon of Expectations

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) is enjoying much attention in 2019 on the 350th anniversary of his death. This course examines his work in context of his training, his network, and his impact on artists of his time, taking into account recent research.

Rembrandt’s background includes a fine education at the Leiden Latin school, which included drawing. He trained with two artists, Jacob van Swanenburg and Pieter Lastman, who gave him secondhand experience with Italy and Italian art currents. We will discuss works by Rembrandt with respect to this educational and artistic background, considering textual sources and pictorial precedent.

Rembrandt relied on past imagery in order to vary it, and strove for a startling effect upon the viewer. We will examine his works for their dependence on and variance from precedent. Rembrandt’s early precocity and ambition were noticed by his contemporaries, and contributed to his meteoric rise in the Amsterdam art market. His brash self-confidence contributed to his difficulties with patrons and waning fortunes in his later years.


Group Leader: AMY GOLAHNY
Meets on: Wednesdays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/7/2020
Sessions: 5
Class Size: 50
Teaching Style: Lecture and discussion
Weekly Preparation: Optional
Group Leader Biography:

Amy Golahny, Logan A. Richmond Professor of Art History Emerita at Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, is immediate past president of the Historians of Netherlandish Art, an international organization that promotes the art of the Low Countries and northern Europe. She has lectured internationally on Dutch art and other topics, and her article on Pieter Lastman, Rembrandt, and other subjects have appeared in the foremost international art history journals. Her examination of how Rembrandt’s library informed his art appeared as Rembrandt’s Reading (2003). Recently she contributed the entry on Lastman to Oxford Bibliographies in Art History, an online research source. She lives in Newton with her husband, Richard Kopley, an expert on Edgar Allan Poe.