Rembrandts La Petite Tombe
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Rembrandts La Petite Tombe
According to some philosophers “La Petite Tombe” would most probably be considered a great work of art, this is my opinion too. Rembrandt is one of very few painters known around the world and valued as an addition to human history. Praised by the art world long time ago and until today. It also considers Rembrandt’s work as great, professional, expressive and impressive. However its’ greatness can be analyzed and criticized, which I will try to do in this paper.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Riju was born July 15, 1606 in the town of Leiden, Netherlands. One of the seven children he was the only one who received Higher Education, all of his siblings went into trade. Leiden was a University town with favorable education atmosphere. Upon graduating from the Leiden high school where students primarily learned Latin, and “true religion” (Calvinistic Protestantism) Rembrandt enrolled into a Leiden University, which by 1620s was internationally renowned. Not very eager for education he pretty soon became an apprentice of Jacob Isaacszoon Swandenburgh, and showed promise in painting, so his father found it good to apprentice him and to take him to the renowned painter P. Listman, residing in Amsterdam so that he might advance himself and be better trained and educated.
During the seventeen’s century history painters enjoyed the highest prestige, higher even then portrait painters. Since history painters could give their imagination a certain freedom, depict and arrange their compositions as they please. In comparison portrait painters had little variation to work with to express themselves. This is why Rembrandt wanted to become a history, or religion painter.
This era would probably be more favored by Tolstoy then by Plato. Although the paintings still presented the objects close or were identical to what we see in life, the fantasy of the artists began to take over the order of the objects, leaning towards the more historical, religious perspective, something Tolstoy would love.
A piece of art from that era by Rembrandt of a religious context is an etching called “La Petite Tombe”, also known as “Christ Preaching”. The subject here is a gathering of common people around Jesus Christ, who is preaching “the remission of sins, an event that does not occur in the Gospels, but which played an important part in the Mennouite doctrine”. (Clark, p. 183) Rembrandt has many religious paintings and etchings in his collection, and in all of them he keeps his style of presentation. A little bit rough, and expressive. His characters on one hand are not explicitly detailed, but on the other all have their own unique points of interest, and expressive quality.
If Plato were shown this etching he would probably be satisfied with it, since it meets all his conditions to be defined as good art. He argues that to be considered “art” at all, a piece of someone’s work, whether it is a painting, etching, poem etc., has to resemble identically a life that we see, and how we perceive it. The closer the work of art is to reality, the better would he consider it to be. Looking at an etching by Rembrandt we can see a very close similarity to life. People are proportionate, they look what ordinary people should look like, and the place where they are gathered is also a familiar surrounding which would look probably the same if we were to look at it in real life. However if we were to think about the content of the piece, there is a side to it, which draws particular attention. Jesus Christ is present on the etching. In the times of Plato there were no such concepts as Bible or Christianity. Even if we were to explain them to Plato, a person for whom the whole other concept of religion is a basis for understanding reality, still he would not accept it as a replica of a real life, since for him there is no such god as the one accepted by Christians. The person right in the middle of a picture would be a step away from reality, together with the aura above his head. Therefore for Plato this etching would be a good even a great piece of art, but the context of
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Dutch Golden Age painters, Rembrandt, Printmaking, Art genres, Etching, Portrait painting, Leo Tolstoy, The Raising of Lazarus
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