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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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Rubens and Flower Still Life Paintings: Regarding Pausias and Glycera

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An extremely fascinating work Pausias and Glycera (fig. 33, pl. 2), preserved at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, ← 71 | 72 → depicts a young couple dressed in antique-style clothing seated in a field scattered with beautiful flowers. The young man is standing a rectangular, board-like object on the end of his rock seat, and looking at it. With a flower wreath held in both hands, the young woman seated next to him is also directing her gaze to this board-like object. On a stone stand in the far right of the composition, a glass vase is filled with an arrangement of tulips, irises, roses, lilies and other flowers. In front of this vase stands a basket filled with a colorful array of flowers. The combination of the young couple and the beautiful flowers gives us a vivid sense of life. The subject depicted in this work is extremely rare, and this painting is the sole extant example of a collaboration between Rubens and Osias Beert the Elder (ca. 1580–1623), an Antwerp painter of flower still lifes. Thus this work is particularly well known, even among Rubens’s great number of paintings. The man and woman shown in this work take poses that closely resemble those found in the famous double portrait in Munich of Self-Portrait with Isabella Brant (fig. 34).

Fig. 33 Peter Paul Rubens and Osias Beert the Elder, Pausias and Glycera, ca. 1615, oil on canvas, 203.2...

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