Rembrandt exhibition in Dresden: tolerance picture from the war


DResden's Kupferstichkabinett in the Residenzschloss is the Green Vault for the Art of Graphics. And since Dresden's capital is above all Baroque wealth, an extensive exhibition on Rembrandt's 350th year of death provides particularly extensive collections that have also led international museums to lend their graphic treasures in the justified hope of exceptional contrasts.

Stefan Trinks

One of about a hundred examples in the show on “Rembrandt's stroke”, which concentrates on its revolutionary handling of all graphic techniques known at that time and with many comparative pictures from modern times like Corinth, Beckmann, Picasso, Kentridge or Dumas its unchanged validity for the present time is occupied by Rembrandt pen and ink drawing “Saskia in bed” from 1638. The four-poster bed of his wife, Saskia Uylenburgh, who died only thirty years later four years later, is a claustrophobic prison, as is the case with Francis Bacon's modern-day picture cages the patient is marked.

Rembrandt's shingles are so shaky that it looks like lines of fever in linen. The upper lip is just a thick horizontal line, the lower lip a slightly shorter parallel line; for the eyebrows he arches the same line width almost unnoticeably – finished are deep-set eyes and a line mouth, which communicate all the sadness of his beloved wife over the long lie must.

Like Rembrandt's demoralizing farmer's wife 350 years earlier: Marlene Dumas' watercolor

Such imperishable and pointed pictorial formulas that William Kentridge would and still does, for example, do and do have a few museums apart from Dresden and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam; they are the pound with which the curator Stephanie Buck can proliferate, for instance when in the center of the seemingly long-since-extant “Hundertguldenblatt” from 1647 to 1649 the sickest Saskia, by far the most expensive of the times, returns in the form of the woman lying before Christ reappeared. There are also five other major sketches for this “Night Watch of the Black Art” known, which Rembrandt has revised over and over again for three years. However, the selected works in Dresden also have a modernity, or rather timelessness, which astonishes.

Act instead of clasping hands

The almost paper-sized etching of the Hundertguldenblatts namely shows the preaching Christ in front of a dark city wall in various events woven from Matthew 19. Several women bring him their little children, whom he allows to come to him with open arms. From the right, through a gate in the wall, the sick and the sick are rushing towards him, one of them being pushed in the wheelbarrow, only the camel of the rich remains literally in the eye of the needle. Otherwise everyone is allowed to join him. In the last years of the worst religious war the world has ever suffered, Rembrandt seems to be dealing with a difference and non-denominational, but above all active, charity. On the left, in the brightest light, stand the dignitaries of the city, scholars among whom, according to a new reading presented in the show, are also Socrates, Homer and Erasmus with hat as representatives of purely theoretical concepts, as well as Pharisees with gestures of refusal. While the latter are demonstratively closing their hands, the poor, mothers and sick call for Christ with eloquent gestures towards “Handeling”, while at the same time the Dutch term refers to Rembrandt's gripping-haptic style.

Hand play in light and dark: Rembrandt's

The characteristic technique – in the light parts on the left, the etching looks like a copperplate engraving, reduced only to the outlines, the army of the little ones on the right appears like rich painting – scratching and flattering very disparate into the eye of the beholder; she makes sure that we see different materials such as velvet robes or a craggy-rough stone wall behind Christ. At the same time, the effect familiar from old black and white films is that the eye quickly assigns colors to the flickering chiaroscuro values, Rembrandt thereby unleashes an impressionism without color, which no one has mastered so furiously since Dürer's graphic work.

Likewise, he uses the chiaroscuro as a narrative form, rewarding the exact observer by gradually peeling off details from the rear: a youth, at first sight hidden in the crowd on the left, in luxurious clothing, who reacts with melancholy gesture to the Christ word, that he should sell all his possessions to give to the poor (Matt. 19: 16-22) or the profile of a colored man on the right under a fur cap. Thus, in addition to the minimalist forms and the abstractly hidden messages, which the viewer himself has to gradually decode, one last feature of modern art by Rembrandt is anticipated by three hundred years: the time required for the adaptation of the eyes in the dark zones of images alone in order to generate form and content from semi-abstract contours, and thus the fundamental realization that is nothing, it seems, the dark men who come out of the darkness and who in the light of the rays do not have to be cleanmen.

(tTTranslate) Saskia Uylenburgh (t) William Kentridge (t) Francis Bacon (t) Stephanie Buck (t) F.A.Z. (t) Rijksmuseum (t) Tolerance picture


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