Fictions of the Pose: Rembrandt Against the Italian Renaissance
The foundational question this book explores is: What happens when portraits are interpreted as imitations or likenesses not only of individuals but also of their acts of posing when the observer's attention is redirected so that the primary object the portrait imitates becomes the likeness not of a person but of an act, the act of sitting for one's portrait? This shift of attention involves another: from the painter's to the sitter's part in the act of (self-)portrayal.
At the ground level, Fictions of the Pose develops a hypothesis about the structure and meaning of portraiture. That foundation supports a first story devoted to the practices and politics of early modern Italian and Dutch portraiture and a second story devoted to Rembrandt's self-portraits, especially those in which he poses in fancy dress as if he were a patron. The author approaches the Rembrandt/Renaissance relation not as an art historian but as an interpreter trained in literary studies, taunted by the challenge of extending the practice of "close reading" from verbal to visual media and fascinated by the way this practice can show how individual works "talk back" to their contexts. The context for Rembrandt, the object and target of his "looking-glass theater," is the structure of patron/painter relations that developed during the Renaissance and influenced the very different conditions of patronage that emerged in the Dutch Republic around the turn of the seventeenth century.
The book is in four parts. Parts One and Two comprise an interpretive study of the technical and sociopolitical conditions within which portraiture becomes an important if problematic medium of self-representation in early modern Europe. The major portion of these two sections considers the structure and the consequences of a system of practices and conventions that governs poses in commissioned portraits. In Part Three the scene shifts from Italian to Dutch portraiture. Part Four is devoted to self-portraits by Rembrandt that are interpreted as responses to the conditions depicted in the first three parts. Through a series of close readings of individual works, the author demonstrates the ironic, polemical, and political force of Rembrandt's self-portraits.
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The System of Early Modern Painting
The Apparatus of Commissioned Portraiture
Sprezzatura and the Anxiety
Facing the Gaze
On Dutch Portraiture
Waiting for Maerten Soolmans
Texture Versus Facture
Specular Fictions in Two Etchings
Saskia in Rembrandts LookingGlass
On Revisionary Allusion
Rembrandt as Courtier
The Medici SelfPortrait
Effacing the Hand
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aesthetic Agnolo Bronzino allusion Alpers Amsterdam apparatus appear aristocratic artist body brushwork burgher century Chapman Chapter Chicago Clark conspicuous context Counter-Remonstrant Courtier courtly critique cultural depicted desire discourse discussed Dutch Republic early modern effect Elias embarrassment emphasis etching example face fiction figure Frans Hals Gary Schwartz gaze genre gesture graphic group portrait hand Helgerson Ibid icon interpretation Jacques Lacan Kenneth Clark Lacan look Lorenzo Lotto Lotto Mauritshuis meaning mimetic idealism mirror mode motives norms object observer Oil on canvas Oil on wood optical orthopsychic painter painting patronage patrons performance physiognomic picture political portraiture pose Princeton produced Quattrocento relation Rembrandt Rembrandt's Enterprise Rembrandt's Self-Portraits represent representation rhetoric Saskia Schama Schwartz scopic self-portraits self-representation semiotic sense signifies sitter Slive social specular sprezzatura Stadholder structure suggests symbolic texture theatrical tion Titian trans University Press Venetian visual Wolfflin York
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