Tag Archives: Rembrandt van Rijn

Valentine’s Day is Really May 3rd, and Other Strange Truths About the Holiday

Secret Marriages, Medieval Poetry, and Why Valentine’s Day is actually May 3rd

Lenn, Misha. Sketch 7/ "Nostalgia for the XX Century" Series. 2002. Park West Gallery Collection. February 14, 2012 has arrived! Couples everywhere are planning their big night out while singles are prepping their Chinese take-out menus and Netflix queue. But no matter what, on this romance-tinged Tuesday evening, love will be in the air.

But was this always the case? Has this been such a loaded holiday throughout history? Or is this a day, as they say, “invented by the greeting card companies?”

We’ve consulted the Internet, the vast (and occasionally reliable) wealth of digital information and want to convey a bit of history this Valentine’s Day. We were happily surprised by what we found.

Jacobs, Scott. Caymus by Candlelight. 2006. Park West Gallery Collection.One. There are quite a lot of Saint Valentines and their stories aren’t always so romantic. According to History.com, the most popular legend of Saint Valentine was about a 3rd century Roman priest that performed secret marriages for young lovers. Emperor Claudius II had outlawed marriage, stating that single men made better soldiers. Valentine was imprisoned and sentenced to death. Before he died, he is rumored to have written the very first “Valentine” to the jailor’s daughter, signing it “From your Valentine.” Others’ stories recall tales of dissident priests that were burned at the stake, bishops that were able to cure blindness, a priest who cured the blind jailor’s daughter, a bishop that was beheaded after helping soldiers escape from prison… They’ve all begun to meld together, as cultural legends do.

Rembrandt & His Wife Saskia. Etching on laid paper after an etching by Rembrandt van Rijn (Bartsch 19). Park West Gallery Collection. Two. Valentine’s Day is actually May 3rd. This one’s our favorite. According to Henry Ansgar Kelly, Director of the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, there’s a reason why lovebirds and flowers feel out of place in February. In his book, Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1986) Kelly states that Valentine’s Day was first romanticized by Geoffrey Chaucer, the medieval poet famous for his Canterbury Tales. In 1381, Chaucer was employed by the court of King Richard II of England. King Richard announced his engagement to Anne of Bohemia on May 3rd after a competitive courtship. One year later, Chaucer wrote The Parliament of Fowls (a poem about springtime love comparing the mating of birds and humans) to lovingly commemorate their first anniversary. Connecting the anniversary with a feast day (the customary thing to do), Chaucer mistook Saint Valentine of Genoa for the more widely celebrated Saint Valentine of Rome, commencing Genoa’s May 3rd feast day as a date for romantic celebration. By the year 1400, Chaucer’s poetry had completely popularized the connection between Saint Valentine’s feast day and his romantic imagery (he wrote three more poems with this theme). However, the rest of Europe was widely unaware of Saint Valentine of Genoa and the day of celebration shifted from May 3rd to February 14th, the feast of Saint Valentine of Rome. This was the first time Valentine’s Day had ever been celebrated with romantic gestures, beginning Chaucer’s legacy of romantic imagery in literature, music, and visual art.

Raad, Lucelle. Secrets. 1997, Park West Gallery Collection.Three. Roses really are red and Violets really are blue. When we were in elementary school making googly-eyes at the one we’ve had a crush on since first grade… what did we write?

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Ice cream is sweet
And so are you!

…or something along these lines. Unless maybe you were the next Ezra Pound or Gertrude Stein as a kindergartner, a total literary genius. But for the rest of the world, our poems looked like this. Where did they come from, these red roses and blue violets? According to The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951), the first version of this children’s poem appears in Joseph Ritson’s Gammer Gurton’s Garland, or the Nursery Parnassus (London, 1784):

The rose is red, the violet’s blue
The honey’s sweet, and so are you
Thou are my love and I am thine
I drew thee to my Valentine
The lot was cast and then I drew
And Fortune said it shou’d be you.

However, Edmund Spenser’s epic poem, The Faerie Queen (1590), provided the original lines:

She bath’d with roses red, and violets blew,
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.

And now you know. Sappy mothers and childhood crushes everywhere owe Edmund Spenser and Joseph Ritson a round of applause for providing them with literary fodder for centuries to come.

So if your search for true love comes up short this Valentine’s Day, just remember the immortal words of Shakespeare: “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
Fine artwork by Lucelle Raad, Scott Jacobs, Misha Lenn, and Rembrandt van Rijn is available for purchase through Park West Gallery and its cruise art auctions at sea. To learn more about these and other Park West Gallery artists, please visit our Discover the Artists page and begin your exploration.

Around Town: Rembrandt at the DIA, Cranbrook’s Grand Reopening, U of M’s ‘Face of Our Time’

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Need a break from stressful holiday shopping? Here are a few local art exhibits worth checking out this weekend…

The first exhibition in the Cranbrook Art Museum’s newly redesigned building highlights works once forgotten in closed storage. Pieces by 50 leading contemporary artists and designers are juxtaposed in challenging ways, providing insightful pairings to depict their similarities. Museum director and co-curator, Gregory Wittkopp, notes that some of these pieces have never been on display before, making this an exhibition you don’t want to miss.

When: Nov. 11, 2011 – March 25, 2012
Where: Cranbrook Art Museum
Website: www.cranbrookart.edu/museum

Face of Our Time, University of Michigan, Park West GalleryFACE OF OUR TIME
Five photographers – Jacob Aue Sobol, Jim Goldberg, Zanele Muholi, Daniel Schwartz, and Richard Misrach – document five different perspectives on contemporary culture. From Sobol’s interpretations of life in the Arctic to Misrach’s photographs in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, each artist sheds light in a discerning, provoking way, commenting on the development of pop culture today.

When: Nov. 12, 2011 – Feb. 5, 2012
Where: University of Michigan Museum of Art
Website: www.umma.umich.edu

Detroit Institute of Arts, Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, Park West GalleryREMBRANDT AND THE FACE OF JESUS
For the first time ever, 64 of Rembrandt’s paintings, prints, and drawings come together in a study of the artist’s unique style as he depicts the face of Jesus. Against the grain for his time, Rembrandt humanized Christ in the mode of popular 17th century culture, rather than representing him in the popular, glorified manner, as a chiseled Greek god. In this series, guests will have the ability to follow Rembrandt’s progress through the years, beginning with a heroic, godlike representation then shifting to his break with tradition.

When: Nov. 20, 2011 – Feb. 12, 2012
Where: The Detroit Institute of Arts
Website: www.dia.org

To learn even more about the artist and his work, visit the Park West Gallery Rembrandt Collection at http://rembrandt.parkwestgallery.com.

And if you’re in the neighborhood this weekend, stop by for a visit! Park West Gallery will be open Friday, 9am – 6pm and Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm [map].

‘Rembrandt in America’ at the North Carolina Museum of Art

On loan from Park West Gallery, Rembrandt’s “Millennium” etching, “Self Portrait Drawing at a Window,” is now on view at the “Rembrandt in America” exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art

Rembrandt in America, North Carolina Museum of Art, Park West Gallery, Millennium etchings In June of 2009, Park West Gallery and the family of its founder and CEO, Albert Scaglione, placed on loan eight original Rembrandt copper plates along with a set of the etchings printed from them (known as the “Millennium” editions), to the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. NCMA was chosen for this loan as these eight copper plates and 70 other surviving Rembrandt copper plates had been deposited on loan there years ago after they were purchased by Dr. Robert Lee Humber in 1938.

The “Self Portrait Drawing at a Window” etching from the Park West loan is now on display and featured in the current exhibition, “Rembrandt in America” which runs until January 22, 2012 in the East Building Meymandi Exhibition Gallery. The eight original copper plates have been installed since 2009 in the Circle of Rembrandt Gallery in the West Building and are regularly there on display. NCMA and its fellow organizers, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, according to its exhibition announcement, “Have assembled a diverse yet representative group of pictures highlighting issues associated with the collecting and connoisseurship… of Rembrandt paintings in America.”

“Park West was delighted to bring the ‘Millennium’ copper plates back to Raleigh and the museum was delighted to receive the loan,” said Morris Shapiro, Park West Gallery Director and the individual who hand-carried the plates from the printer’s studio in New York to the museum in 2009. “It was one of the highlights of my career to bring these historical treasures from the hands of the master printer who had printed the ‘Millennium’ edition, and place them back into the hands of the museum from where they had rested for so many decades. It’s wonderful that so many people have had the opportunity to view the original copper plates and now to see this important etching in this exhibition.”

› For more information on the “Rembrandt in America” exhibition, visit http://ncartmuseum.org/exhibitions/rembrandt, or to download the exhibition gallery guide [pdf] click here.

› For more information on the “Millennium Edition” etchings and the Park West Gallery Rembrandt Collection, visit http://rembrandt.parkwestgallery.com.

Park West Rembrandt House Tour – Part Three

Rembrandt van Rijn (July 15, 1606 – October 4, 1669) was born 404 years ago today! Celebrate the birthday of one of history’s masters by watching Part 3 of the Park West Rembrandt House Tour…

The final part of the Park West Gallery Rembrandt House Tour is perhaps the most informative. Few people know that Rembrandt was a master etcher of his time and worked tirelessly to revolutionize the medium of etching.

During part three of the tour, join Park West Gallery Director Morris Shapiro for a demonstration of Rembrandt’s process, using the actual tools and materials utilized by the artist in his day to create his sublime etchings.


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Take the Rembrandt House Museum Video Tour

Take a video tour of the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam! Part One (which can be viewed below) explores the living and business areas. Stay tuned for parts two and three of this fascinating video series…

Join Park West Gallery President Marc Scaglione and Park West Gallery Director Morris Shapiro for a guided tour of the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam. Glimpses into both living and business areas are provided as well as insights into the day-to-day life and activities of the master and his students. In addition to being a painter, Rembrandt was also a master etcher and an art dealer.


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The Magic of Rembrandt Paintings Revealed

Rembrandt's Saint James The Greater, 1661. (Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press)

Rembrandt's Saint James The Greater, 1661. (Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press)

While studying paintings created by Rembrandt van Rijn using software that examined lighting and spatial layout, University of British Columbia researcher Steve DiPaola uncovered how the Dutch master created his enduring works of art – through a technique that guides the viewer’s gaze.

According to DiPaola, Rembrandt’s technique was to paint a sharper focus on certain areas of a piece in order to draw the viewer’s eyes to that area. The study found that viewers would rest on the sharper areas longer, which resulted in a calming effect and also guided the viewer around the painting.

“This is about unlocking the puzzle of perception,” DiPaola told The Vancouver Sun newspaper. “Artists don’t always get the credit for it, but the way they make their magic is by exploiting brain science.”

By making certain details sharper and helping the viewer experience the painting, Rembrandt essentially created a narrative for his pieces. Whether Rembrandt actually knew what he was doing is still a question, but DiPaola feels the artist may have also intuitively done it. [Via CBC News]

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While Rembrandt is most widely known for his masterful paintings, he is also recognized as one of the best – if not the best – etcher of all time. For more information on the Park West Rembrandt Collection and the etching process in general, visit the Park West Gallery Rembrandt Website.


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Rembrandt’s Recession: Passion and Prints in the Dutch Golden Age

The Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park, California had record attendance while featuring its latest Rembrandt van Rijn exhibit, so much so that it extended the exhibit’s run date until this Sunday, May 9th. So if you are in the area, be sure to check it out!

Christ Preaching (La Petite Tombe), c1652, Rembrandt van RijnRembrandt’s Recession: Passion and Prints in the Dutch Golden Age features 14 selections representing Rembrandt’s illustrious career as a printmaker.

Accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog, the exhibition contains some of the artist’s best-known prints, including such landmark examples as Christ Preaching (Le Petite Tombe) from around 1652 and Three Crosses from around 1660.

An event has also been added to the Timken’s “Art in the Afternoon” series. Museum director John Wilson will give a talk about the financial woes and personal issues that marked and marred Rembrandt’s life during the 1650s.

“The images all display Rembrandt’s gift as one of the greatest artists of the human condition. All the prints are exceptional impressions and masterpieces of 17th century printmaking by one of the greatest printmakers of all time,” said John Wilson, Ph.D., executive director of the Timken Museum of Art. “This is a perfect exhibition for our museum which has long been known for being home to San Diego’s only Rembrandt painting on public display.”

One of the greatest artists of all time, Rembrandt van Rijn is equally famous for his extraordinarily creative etchings and drawings as his paintings. Rembrandt’s Recession: Passion and Prints in the Dutch Golden Age, examines the artist’s New Testament subject matter in light of his life and times.

For additional Rembrandt etchings, visit www.parkwest-rembrandt.com to view a selection of prints from the Park West Rembrandt Collection. For over 40 years, Park West Gallery has been a world-wide source for collectors of original etchings by Rembrandt Van Rijn, with its collection including rare 17th century impressions and nearly 700 different posthumous impressions.

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Rediscovered Rembrandt Painting at Kimbell Art Museum

Rembrandt Laughing. Painting by Rembrandt van Rijn. Image courtesy of Dallas Art News.

Rembrandt van Rijn’s self-portrait, Rembrandt Laughing, was mistakenly attributed to his older contemporary Frans Hals a century and a half after Rembrandt’s death. However, in 2007 the painting made headlines when the English family who owned it for the past 100 years put it up for auction and art dealers in attendance recognized its quality and importance.

Art historians now know that Rembrandt Laughing is one of the first and most joyful chapters of the artist’s autobiography in paint, and he painted the work in his home city of Leiden when he was 21 or 22 years old. The painting will be on view at the Kimbell from April 9 until late July as part of the Museum’s continuing “Guest of Honor” series.

While Rembrandt is often remembered as a master painter, he is also considered one of the greatest – if not the greatest – etcher of all time. Park West Gallery has been a world-wide source for collectors of original etchings by Rembrandt for over 40 years. For more information on Rembrandt etchings, visit the Park West Rembrandt website.


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