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Inspiration and Emulation

Selected Studies on Rubens and Rembrandt

Toshiharu Nakamura

Edited By Kayo Hirakawa

This book discusses an important theme in art history - artistic emulation that emphasizes the exchange between Flemish and Dutch art in the seventeenth century. Since the Middle Ages, copying has been perceived as an important step in artistic training. Originality, on the other hand, has been considered an indispensable hallmark of great works of art since the Renaissance. Therefore, in the seventeenth century, ambitious painters frequently drew inspiration from other artists’ works, attempting to surpass them in various aspects of aesthetic appeal. Drawing on this perspective, this book considers the problems of imitation, emulation, and artistic rivalry in seventeenth-century Netherlandish art. It primarily focuses on Rubens and Rembrandt, but also discusses other masters like van Dyck and Hals. It particularly results in expanding the extant body of knowledge in relation to Rubens’s influence on Rembrandt and Hals. Moreover, it reveals certain new aspects of Rubens and Rembrandt as work-shop masters - collaboration with specialists, use of oil sketches, and teaching methods to pupils for example.

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Bibliographical Note


Details of the previous publication of the essays in this book are as follows:

“Rubens’s Painting Practice: Some Considerations on His Collaboration with Specialists and His Relationship with Van Dyck as Workshop Assistant.” First published in Toshiharu Nakamura (ed.), Essays for the Exhibition Catalogue, Rubens: Inspired by Italy and Established in Antwerp, The Mainichi Newspapers, Tokyo, 2013, pp. 5–20.

“Rubens and Flower Still Life Paintings: Regarding Pausias and Glycera.” Revised version of the essay published in Toshiharu Nakamura and Michiaki Koshikawa, exh. cat. European Baroque Paintings from The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery, Tobu Museum of Art, Tokyo et al., 1997, pp. 163–168.

“Rubens and the History of the Oil Sketch.” First published in Kyoto Studies in Art History, 2, Appreciating the Traces of an Artist’s Hand, 2017, pp. 19–40.

“Rembrandt’s Andromeda.” Revised version of the essay published in Toshiharu Nakamura (ed.), Rembrandt as Norm and Anti-Norm: Papers Given at a Colloquium Held at the Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University, December 15, 2002, Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University, Kyoto, 2004, pp. 31–60.

“Rembrandt’s The Blinding of Samson: A Work for Artistic Emulation with Rubens?” Revised version of the essay published in Akira Kofuku (ed.), Rembrandt and Dutch History Painting in the 17th Century, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2004, pp. 123–138.

“How to Construct Better Narrative Compositions:...

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