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Émile Verhaeren: Essays on the Northern Renaissance

Rembrandt, Rubens, Grünewald and Others- Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Albert Alhadeff


Edited By Albert Alhadeff

Émile Verhaeren (1855–1916), art critic, poet and homme de lettres, was a man whose vision transcended his native Belgium. With close ties to Mallarmé in France and Rilke in Germany, Verhaeren, a peripatetic student of the arts, readily traveled to Paris, Berlin, Cassel, Vienna and Amsterdam. From the mid-1880s until his death in 1916, his many trips abroad resulted in a raft of essays and short monographs on the arts of the Northern Renaissance. Yet, despite the insights, scholarship and markedly precise and revealing descriptions of these studies, they have long been neglected in art historical circles, overshadowed, perhaps, by Verhaeren’s own poetic outpourings and his numerous essays on contemporary art.
In this book, Albert Alhadeff translates, edits, annotates and contextualizes these often brilliant and always revealing studies on artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Memling, Bruegel and Grünewald, masters from the North who worked mostly in Flanders, Holland and Germany in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As Alhadeff reveals, Verhaeren’s studies of the masters of old in Germany, Flanders and the newly born Dutch Republic are as much about Verhaeren the man as they are about the subjects of his inquiries.


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Acknowledgments ix


Acknowledgments An Acknowledgment page is amongst the most courteous and necessary exercises in an academic publication. It fortunately allows me to thank the many people who have allowed this project to come into being. Foremost, I must thank my editor, Donald Friedman, who through the years has unfailingly been a source of encour- agement; if ever I lost courage in the translation, Donald was forever there, his sup- port unflagging, ready to praise and encourage, giving me the wherewithal to keep on with the work, no matter how difficult it seemed at the time—and to translate Verhaeren’s evocative prose is and has always been a challenge. With Donald Fried- man, I also must thank the many people at Peter Lang Publishing, especially Jackie Pavlovic, for kindly accepting my interminable delays with the final manuscript. I also need to thank the University of Colorado’s Interlibrary Loan staff, without whose patience and expertise I could not have completed the research necessary for the introduction to my text. Rembrandt scholars have also come into play, especially Paul Crenshaw, whose encouragement and kind words are deeply appreciated. I also need to thank editors who have read my text, namely David Joel, Max Boersma, Chuck Scillia and Amber Teng. Otherwise, my very special thanks to a friend and working colleague, Adam Milner, whose organizational skills, as well as his expertise in the formatting and typesetting of the manuscript has proved to be invaluable and has rendered the final product as attractive as it is....

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