Friday, March 1, 2019

Reimagining Rembrandt's Painting Procedure

To honor the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt's death, a team of scientist, historians, conservators, and artists have created what they believe is an authentic reconstruction of Rembrandt's procedure for painting a portrait.

#1 Preparation and Sketch (Link to video #1)
In the first 10-minute video, an artist prepares the canvas and draws the guidelines. The voiceover, in Dutch, is supposed to be Rembrandt teaching a student.

#2 Materials and Underpainting (Link to video #2)
The procedure continues with more about the materials and the early stages of establishing the light and dark. Experts from the Rijksmuseum say they based this procedure on the study of 60 self-portraits.

#3 Light and Dead Color (Link to Video #3)
The third installment goes deeper into the interplay between light and dark. The greyed-down tonal statement, called "dead color" ("Doodverf" in Dutch) is made to be glazed with warm transparent layers to bring it to life.

Behind the Scenes: How they created Rembrandt's voice (Link to video)
The voiceover reconstructs Rembrandt's sound and style, based his writings and his facial metrics. For this back-construction, they worked with forensic speech analysts from the FBI and Carnegie Mellon.

I would like to commend the officials at the Rijksmuseum for funding this effort to better understand Rembrandt's painting procedure. It's part of a trend where museums are engaging with living artists to reconstruct the painting procedures of artists from the past.
Thanks, Christoph Heuer


gronkchicago said...

Ach! Where's number four? Rembrandt Portraits opens at the Art Institute of Chicago on March 3...just so interested parties know.

James Gurney said...

Gronk, not sure. It's supposed to be six parts, but I didn't see 4-6 right away. Perhaps they haven't released them yet; the first three just came out yesterday.

Stephen and Nyree said...

I have only ever painted with watercolor and gouache, but this makes me want to try oil painting. Thanks!

Richard said...

Good find. Any way to hear this in English?


VickiRossArt said...

Thanks, James! Love this method of teChing! Are you aware of any other old master instruction like this?

satti said...

Frankly speaking result is not very satisfactory. I have seen another demonstration of rembrandt method, which is by angel academy, the result is much satisfactory.

woho said...

there now are 5