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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Rembrandt
By Charles Blanc (1813–1882)
 
From ‘The Dutch School of Painters’

REMBRANDT has taken great pains to transmit to us paintings of his person, or at least of his face, from the time of his youth up to that of shrunken old age. He was a man at once robust and delicate. His broad and slightly rounded forehead presented a development that indicated a powerful imagination. His eyes were small, deep-set, bright, intelligent, and full of fire. His hair, of a warm color bordering on red and curling naturally, may possibly have indicated a Jewish extraction. His head had great character, in spite of the plainness of his features; a large flat nose, high cheek-bones, and a copper-colored complexion imparted to his face a vulgarity which, however, was relieved by the form of his mouth, the haughty outline of his eyebrows, and the brilliancy of his eyes. Such was Rembrandt; and the character of the figures he painted partakes of that of his own person. That is to say, they have great expression, but are not noble; they possess much pathos, while deficient in what is termed style.  1
  An artist thus constituted could not but be exceedingly original, intelligent, and independent, though selfish and entirely swayed by caprice. When he began to study nature, he entered upon his task not with that good nature which is the distinctive characteristic of so many of the Dutch painters, but with an innate desire to stamp upon every object his own peculiarity, supplementing imagination by an attentive observation of real life. Of all the phenomena of nature, that which gave him most trouble was light; the difficulty he most desired to conquer was that of expression.  2
 
 
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