Rembrandt & wokeness

Rembrandt’s wink

My paraphrase of Rembrandt’s ‘Self-portrait as Paul’ is not for sale at the major exhibition next weekend in Gorinchem (Link at the bottom).
In the original, Rembrandt only has a sword under his cloak; I’ve added another sword. I also moved his studio to the front of his house, so that he has/had a different view. The 21st century can be discerned vaguely across the street. When I had just started working on the painting, I visited Amsterdam and looked at how the house stands now and what can be seen across the street.

21th century view from Rembrandt's house/atelier.
21th century

The most striking thing about that visit was the building next to Van Rijn’s. The accompanying text to an image of a rich man with dark features states that an exhibition is underway on the subject of ‘Being Black in the Time of Rembrandt’. And the time of the exhibition has been extended …

Rembrandt's "neighbour"
Rembrandt’s ‘neighbour’

Like any famous painter (certainly at that time!) he earned his paintings through all kinds of accolades towards powerful rich people and organizations. The suggestion in that title that among those powerful rich people there were also non-white people who were portrayed differently or not at all because of their skin color is absurd.
The painting is not for sale yet because it also appears in my non-fiction book 49:49 [see link below] that has not yet been published. The most important aspect of the paraphrasing is that my painting shows what Van Rijn is reading: a lesser-known book from the Old Testament. Hence the title ‘Rembrandt’s wink’: I let the old master say here, as it were: you should also take a look at this book of the Bible.


Link to the exhibition in Gorinchem

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