“I chose this book because Simon Schama is such a wonderful writer. He has guts…He goes all the way, with all the senses engaged. Reading Schama is like stepping into a time machine. You can smell the paint, the poor quality of the air above Amsterdam’s canals, centuries ago…Rembrandt’s Eyes reads almost like a novel. He goes very far with some of his speculations, but I find it marvellous that Schama can do this about a foreign country—one that he didn’t even grow up in. It’s a real accomplishment of cultural empathy, and of course of bringing another time alive. He writes a book at once about a Dutch hero (and Rembrandt’s competition with Rubens, the Flemish master) and about Dutch history with the authority of a native…You have to remember: the only way to write about history or about a fabulous figure like Rembrandt is by being a storyteller. You have to use words, images, metaphors to kiss the past alive—and that is exactly what Schama does. I admire him for it. And since we’re talking about art, so much comes down to interpretation. Adopting an interpretive technique I think is fitting for the subject matter. What he does is to create a richer picture for the reader.” Read more...
The best books on Rembrandt
Art Historians, Critics & Curator