Sunday, July 24, 2016

Rembrandt, The Polish Rider, c.1655, Oil on canvas, 46 x 53 1/8 in. (116.8 x 134.9 cm)
Hackwork of the gods.
There's so much about it that's by the numbers and yet on the money. The genius is in the roteness.

Rembrandt could be a hack in the way Hals could never be. Hals was always a professional; like Rubens but not at his level. But something in this painting, the offhandedness of execution, casual to the point of boredom, I think of a dancer or a Vaudeville performer doing the show again one more time, but perfectly. It cracks me up every time I see it but I feel a shiver.

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