The Learned Eye

PDF-file by Marieke van den Doel

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Artists of the seventeenth century were known not just for their skill with a brush and canvas, but also for their knowledge of history, poetry, and literature—what was referred to as an oculus eruditus or "learned eye." Rembrandt, for example, was known during his lifetime for mixing his own colors and for his seemingly "rough" and unique manner of texturing his works. He was not simply an artist; he was a teacher and a salesman too—his etchings were hugely popular with his contemporaries.

Rembrandt's "learned eye," his understanding of both the methods and the reality of being an artist, is also visible in the work and lives of other masters like Anthony van Dyck, Frans Hals, and Nicholas Poussin. Contributors to The Learned Eye examine their visions, as well as those of other, more modern artists, all dedicated to the interdisciplinary fields of art, art history, curation, and restoration. Dedicated to the leader of the Rembrandt Research Project, Ernst van de Wetering, The Learned Eye is a superb overview of the artist at work and an exquisite argument for creative and expansive art scholarship.

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