Rembrandt film review: wonders of a master artist

Exhibition on Screen series Rembrandt.
Exhibition on Screen series Rembrandt.

REMBRANDT van Rijn was a master of chiaroscuro, the effect of contrasting light and dark in drawing and painting, finding remarkable depths in his artistic subjects despite a relatively limited palette of colours.

While not limited in its palette, this documentary from the Exhibition on Screen series certainly illustrates the contrasting shades in the eventful and remarkably productive life of the artist some would consider the greatest to have ever lived.

Back in the series by popular demand, Rembrandt chronicles a major show of the 17th Century Dutch master’s work hosted by London’s National Gallery and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum.

In the process, the audience will undoubtedly get the irresistible desire to see these works for themselves; the ultimate accolade for a documentary of this nature.

But they will get much more in the process. Besides the usual learned statements from curators and critics, there are fascinating segments where artists demonstrate the techniques Rembrandt was employing.

Then there is the man himself. Rembrandt clearly had an ambition and ego to match his towering abilities. After all, he chose to go by his first name alone, mimicking the Renaissance greats.

He had a spectacular rise on the back of this talent, then a major crash when the vagaries of economics and artistic tastes worked against him.

Throughout he stuck steadfastly to his singular style. Not for him the flattering takes on those with power and influence. Instead, he looked beyond the trinkets and showed us their essence.

The philosopher A.C. Grayling even credits his many self-portraits as significant, even pioneering explorations of the self.

Art lovers and those who wish to educate themselves on the subject would do themselves a favour by seeing this documentary.

By the end, they will definitely have seen the light on the wonders of this master.

THE ESSENTIALS

Rembrandt (E)

Directed by: Kat Mansoor

Reviewed by: Martin Turner

4.5 stars

Windsor Cinema, September 28-29, October 2

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