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Rembrandt's Portrait: A Biography

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  92 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
The first pure biography of this enigmatic legend, Rembrandt's Portrait is a fascinating detective story in which, clue by clue, the man himself emerges as never before.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 15th 1988 by Simon & Schuster
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How does one write a biography when there are hardly any written sources to refer to? Author Charles L. Mee jr. tackles the problem by providing copious amounts of information about the environment which Rembrandt inhabited, about art and artists, all linked and referenced to Wikipedia articles. We learn for example that Rembrandt possibly attended a school that might have been something like this scene painted by Jan Steen:
 photo IMG_2461_zpsish4niz6.jpg

Initially the author listed the work that Rembrandt did: he did this, th
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was a well written book, but would be better titled "Dutch painting and life during the time of Rembrandt".

As the author points out, there are only 7 extant documents that mention Rembrandt and none of his known peers kept diaries or journals. So this books, while weaving Rembrandt throughout as a narrative, does focus more on Dutch painting than on Rembrandt.

Additionally, I had the kindle version, so I don't know if a physical book included pictures. BUT, the kindle version did not, whic
Mary Ellen
Jan 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Rembrandt lovers
Any Rembrandt biography is hampered by the lack of first-hand information about Rembrandt, so much of this book is about Rembrandt's era, the places he lived. And there are many "educated guesses," sometimes multiple guesses: he might have chosen the subject for this reason ... or maybe that reason. What I really loved about this book was the reflections on individual paintings. This would have been greatly enhanced had reproductions been included, but I suppose that would have inflated the pric ...more
David Potter
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Manipulated extraordinary

Just look at what he could do with a blob of colour: from his brush it could become an eye or a blade or a highlight on shimmering silk. Rembrandt seemed able to manipulate light and shade to serve his goal. But as this very readable biography shows, his attempts to manipulate people proved far less successful. It is strange that exceptionally gifted artists are such poor businessmen, and that they so wantonly betray the conventions of their contemporaries. It makes for
Glenn Robinson
Apr 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Very interesting bio on Rembrandt. We all know his paintings, but I knew very little of his life. He was a late starter and shot up quickly to the point where he was buying and selling other great artist paintings, teaching many students and selling their art, creating prints of his and selling those.....and then it all stopped. Within 10 years, he was deemed too old fashion, difficult to deal with and also one that took commission money while not finishing the work.
Wendie Schneider
No pictures!

How can you write about Rembrandt, describing in excruciating detail, all the known paintings he made, without having the painting displayed?

Since so little was known about him, this book fills in all the questions with probabilities. I wanted to like the story of Rembrandt, but he was certainty not a person who could be liked.
Lea Gallardo
A very entertaining read. I found myself, halfway through, needing to go to the computer to view Rembrandt's work which was described in great detail in the book. The inclusion of various legal details of his life was interesting from the standpoint that he lived in the mid 17th century.
Regina Murray
Aug 28, 2015 rated it liked it
I wish the author included photographs of the paintings he is describing.
Beverly Hollandbeck
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
How can you publish a bio of a great painter and not have a single illustration?
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