Rembrandt’s Light Exhibition
At the Dulwich Picture Gallery
Rembrandt’s Light is a major exhibition exploring 35 of his greatest paintings, etchings and drawings. London’s moment in the ‘Year of Rembrandt’ will bring together major international loans. Arranged thematically the exhibition will trace Rembrandt’s mastery of light and shadow, revealing how he used both for dramatic effect, from evoking different moods in religious and mythological stories, to depicting raw human emotion in the subjects he knew well... all set against a backdrop of Mylands paints.
The exhibition showcases a new LED Bluetooth lighting system at the Gallery, and leading cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, famed for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Mars Attacks!, will work with the curators to devise an atmospheric visitor experience. Through carefully constructed lighting and innovative design, the exhibition spaces will reflect the variety of Rembrandt’s work, from high-drama and theatricality to the contemplative and spiritual.
Key paintings will demonstrate the influence of contemporary theatre on Rembrandt’s method, including the The Denial of St Peter, 1660 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), where multiple moments of the story are told within a single scene, and The Woman Taken in Adultery, 1644 (The National Gallery, London), where the figures inhabit the temple setting as though they were actors on a stage. ‘Manipulating Light’, the second section of the show, will transport visitors to Rembrandt’s workshop, as witnessed in his drawing The Artist’s Studio, c.1659 (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford). The means by which Rembrandt evoked day and night will be explored in etchings from the Rembrandt House Museum including Student at a Table by Candlelight, c.1642 and Woman with an Arrow c.1661, as well as his only surviving nocturnal painting, Landscape with the Rest on the flight into Egypt, 1647 (National Gallery of Ireland). The penultimate section, ‘The Meditative Mood’, will focus on Rembrandt’s religious and intellectual works. Rembrandt’s ability to create multiple layers of meaning and subtle shifts in mood made his works enduringly popular as tools for private contemplation. In Christ and St Mary Magdalen at the Tomb, 1638 (Royal Collection Trust), the dawn breaking over Jerusalem echoes the dawning recognition between the characters in the scene. A personal entry that Rembrandt made in the Album Amicorum (‘friendship book’) of his influential patron Jan Six, with a drawing of Minerva in her Study, 1652 (Collectie Six, Amsterdam) will also feature. The use of light draws out the symbolism of the goddess’s attributes, while simultaneously flattering the original owner (he, like Minerva was a protector of culture and learning).
Rembrandt’s Light Exhibition is open 4th October - 2nd February 2020
Gallery Rd, Dulwich, London SE21 7AD