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Frans Hals - Eye to Eye with Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian

2013 is officially Frans Hals Year, marking exactly 100 years since the Frans Hals Museum opened its doors to display the work of this key Dutch artist of the seventeenth century. The most important exhibition in this jubilee year is Frans Hals: Eye to Eye with Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian, in which key works by Hals are presented alongside paintings by such famed colleagues as Titian, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Jordaens and Rubens. In this eponymous publication, all the works in the exhibition are presented side by side, enabling the reader to compare the masterpieces and see just how the artists inspired one another. These unique comparisons and juxtapositions of master painters lead to a far deeper and more nuanced understanding of seventeenth-century painting and its tight web of artistic connections. Famous painters, after all, often produced their works in response to one another, with the aim of proving their creative and technical mettle--while also aiming to surpass (and perhaps even intimidate) their fellow artists. This painterly swordsmanship spurred individual artists--and art as a whole--to ever greater heights. A selection of distinguished international specialists casts new light on Hals' virtuosity, his central role in seventeenth-century culture and his artistic relationship with his contemporaries in Antwerp (Rubens, Van Dyck) and Amsterdam (Rembrandt).
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An increasing acknowledgement of the artistic connections between the Dutch Republic and the South Netherlands is shaping much current scholarship. This excellent volume by Tummers (Frans Hals Museum) et al. articulates the parallel aesthetic interests among Dutch and Flemish painters, in visible brushwork and subjects. The critical reception of the Venetian Renaissance painter Titian established the theoretical basis for such appreciation of visible painterly strokes. However, the underlying theme of pronounced viscosity in paint links Hals, Rembrandt, and Rubens. Rubbens visited Haarlem in 1612 with the intent to hire engravers from that city. Hals spent some months in Antwerp in 1616. Rembrandt was familiar with the works by Rubens that he viewed in Holland, and would have been familiar with Hals's portraits in Amsterdam collections... Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals/practitioners.--A. Golahny "CHOICE "

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