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Lecture | Online Museum Talks

Online Museum Talk: Rembrandt in the Shadows

  • Marisa Anne Bass
Monday 2 November 2020
Museum Talks at the Leiden Department of Art History


The Department of Art History cordially invites you to the lecture of Marisa Anne Bass, Associate Professor, Yale University.

Rembrandt’s Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis, now considered one the great works of his late career, was not an instant success. The question as to why it was removed from the Batavian gallery of the Amsterdam town hall, soon after it was installed, has occasioned ample speculation. This paper does not propose to conjecture further about the circumstances surrounding the rejection of the painting by the city burgomasters. Nor does it propose to revisit the implications of the Batavian myth as Rembrandt depicted it in light of the contemporary political circumstances. Rather than dwelling on the work’s perceived failure, my aim is to explore a different question: in the process of conceiving the most monumental painting of his career, what did it mean for the artist to think with a monument of a scale and grandiosity unprecedented in the architectural history of the Netherlands? Rembrandt’s composition, so I will argue, not only grapples with the complex spatiality of the town hall’s interior but also points to the larger challenge that underlay the making of a “republican” monument in the Dutch context. It is a painting astutely designed with an awareness of its own marginality.


Please register via this link. You will then receive the link to join the online lecture on November 2.

Rembrandt van Rijn, The conspiracy of Claudius Civilis, ca. 1661. Oil on canvas. Nationalmuseum Sweden
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