Art and Competition in the Dutch Golden Age: Erasmus Lectures on the History and Civilization of the Netherlands and Flanders—Part 3.
Lecture Title: Rivals in Rendering Horror: Rembrandt, Rubens, and Tragedy.
In several spectacular paintings of the 1630s, Rembrandt strove to surpass Peter Paul Rubens in the rendering of violence and horror. His efforts reached a peak with his monumental “Blinding of Samson (1636).” He painted this work in artistic rivalry with Rubens’s “Prometheus Bound (1618),” while also drawing upon works by Caravaggio and Jusepe de Ribera that were then in the possession of Amsterdam collectors. In this lecture, Eric Jan Sluijter, professor emeritus at the University of Amsterdam and the 2019 Erasmus Lecturer in Harvard’s Department of History of Art and Architecture, examines the important role of artistic competition and will consider both Rembrandt’s and Rubens’s rivalry with the Senecan tragedies that were performed on the stages of Amsterdam and Antwerp, particularly in their depiction of terrifying occurrences, violent passions, and gruesome deeds.
The three-part 2019 Erasmus Lectures were presented at the Harvard Art Museums in collaboration with the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard. The Erasmus Lectureship on the History and Civilization of the Netherlands and Flanders invites lecturers to spend a semester in any department of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. The lectureship was endowed in 1967 by donations from individuals and businesses in the Netherlands and from Dutch expatriates in the United States. In 1994, the endowment was enlarged by a donation from the Government of Flanders.
Friday, March 8, 2019, Menschel Hall, Harvard Art Museums.