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Rembrandt Seen Through Jewish Eyes

The Artist’s Meaning to Jews from His Time to Ours

280 pages
Amsterdam University Press
The earliest painting by Rembrandt whose owner is documented depicts the prophet Balaam, on his way to blessing Israel. The man who bought it was a Sephardi Jew in the service of Cardinal Richelieu of France. The first known buyer of an etching plate by Rembrandt, depicting Abraham Dismissing Hagar and Ishmael, was a Sephardi Jew of Amsterdam. Seen through their eyes, Rembrandt was the creator of images with a special meaning to Jews. They have been followed through the centuries by Jewish collectors, Jewish art historians, Jewish artists who saw their own deepest concerns modelled in his art and life, and even prominent rabbis, one of whom said that Rembrandt was a Tzadik, a holy man blessed by God.

This book is the first study in depth of the potent bond between Rembrandt and Jews, from his time to ours, a bond that has penetrated the image of the artist and the people alike.
Author Bio
Mirjam Knotter, chief curator and manager exhibitions, Jewish Museum, Amsterdam, author and curator of Kabbalah: The Art of Jewish Mysticism (Vienna, Jüdisches Museum; Amsterdam, Jewish Museum, 2018); Author of From Angel to the Shekhinah: The Influence of Kabbalah on the Late Work of R.B. Kitaj (Images, Brill, Leiden, 2020); Author and curator of exhibition and essay Charlotte Salomon in Close up: The Influence of Cinema on Life? or Theatre?(Trasparenze 7, 2021 - numero dedicato a Charlotte Salomon). Gary Schwartz, independent, founding director emeritus of CODART, author and guest curator of exhib. cat. Rembrandt’s Orient: West Meets East in Dutch Art of the Seventeenth Century (Potsdam, Museum Barberini; Kunstmuseum Basel).