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Rembrandt and the Climate of Religious Conflict in the 1620s

David de Witt
Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen
51. Bd., Beiheft. Rembrandt — Wissenschaft auf der Suche. Beiträge des Internationalen Symposiums Berlin — 4. und 5. November 2006 (2009), pp. 17-24
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25674331
Page Count: 8
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Rembrandt and the Climate of Religious Conflict in the 1620s
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Abstract

The effects of the Remonstrant controversy persisted in Leiden through the 1620s, in the years that Rembrandt and Jan Lievens were being formed as artists. The Reformed Church's continued repression of dissident views through civic means, including physical attacks, prompted explicit responses from artists such as Molenaer, Pynas and Moeyaert. But it is also possible to connect some broader developments in Dutch art of the period with the climate of tension and caution that resulted from the conflict: the retreat of the sensual nude (after its Mannerist halcyon), the sudden increase in vanitas imagery and the related flourishing of depictions of the aged. Likely parallel to them was the rise of the tonal phase in Dutch art, which is here interpreted as a moralizing assertion of sobriety responding to, and pursuing a market in, a charged atmosphere of religious conflict. These developments also affected the work of Lievens and Rembrandt, with respect to nudity, depictions of the aged, and their adoption of more muted palettes during the 1620s.

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