Grace, Genius, and the Longinian Sublime in Rembrandt’s Aristotle with a Bust of Homer

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669),  Aristotle with a Bust of Homer,  1653, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art

In his 1637 book, De pictura veterum, Franciscus Junius makes the case that natural talent rather than learned theory plays the greater part in creative achievement, a view he grounds in the ancient literary treatise Peri hypsous, traditionally attributed to Longinus and known since the eighteenth century as On the Sublime. By the 1650s, Junius’s discussion of the Longinian sublime, or grace, would have taken on new significance in light of the growing interest, in and beyond the Dutch Republic, in codified rules—much of it revolving around Aristotle’s Poetics. Against this trend, Rembrandt produced his Aristotle with a Bust of Homer of 1653 (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art). In it he presents Aristotle—author of the earliest extant and most influential work of literary theory—at a moment of recognition that his rules are ultimately insignificant in comparison to natural genius, which his forebear Homer above all others possessed. Rembrandt thus pictorializes the sublime and, with the heavy gold chain draped across Aristotle’s chest, articulates the view attributed to the artist by later critics: that in pursuit of the height of excellence in art and literature one ought to bind oneself to one’s natural gifts, rather than to theoretical rules. Rembrandt does not illustrate Junius’s text, but may have found in the scholar’s invocations of Longinus an affirmation of his own long-held understanding of genius.

DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2016.8.2.5

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to have had the opportunity in 2014 to discuss my research with Walter Liedtke, who generously offered me his encouragement and whose scholarship has provided an inspiring example. With admiration I dedicate this essay to his memory. My heartfelt gratitude goes to the editors of this issue, Stijn Bussels and Bram van Oostveldt, to my dissertation adviser, Mariët Westermann, to my colleagues at the Frick, especially Xavier F. Salomon, Susan Grace Galassi, Aimee Ng, Margaret Iacono, Esmée Quodbach, Adam Eaker, and Aaron Wile, and to my awe-inspiring husband, Marc Seidenstein. I also warmly acknowledge the support of the European Research Council program “Elevated Minds” and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies.

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669),  Aristotle with a Bust of Homer,  1653, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Fig. 1 Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, 1653, oil on canvas, 143.5 x 136.5 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, special contributions and funds given or bequeathed by friends of the Museum, 1961 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
 Joos van Wassenhove (active 1460–1480),  Aristotle,  ca. 1476, Paris, Musée du Louvre
Fig. 2 Joos van Wassenhove (active 1460–1480), Aristotle, ca. 1476, oil on panel, 104 x 68 cm. Paris, Musée du Louvre (artwork in the public domain; photo: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, N.Y.) [side-by-side viewer]
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669),  Saint Matthew and the Angel,  1661, Paris, Musée du Louvre
Fig. 3 Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), Saint Matthew and the Angel, 1661, oil on canvas, 52 x 66 cm. Paris, Musée du Louvre (artwork in the public domain; photo: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, N.Y.) [side-by-side viewer]
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669),  Detail of fig. 1, Aristotle with a Bust of Homer,  1653, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Fig. 4 Detail of fig. 1 [side-by-side viewer]
Greek coin with the head of Athena (obverse) and ,  ca. 310–275 BCE, London, British Museum
Fig. 5 Greek coin with the head of Athena (obverse) and the standing figure of Nike and inscription of Alexander’s name (reverse), ca. 310–275 BCE. London, British Museum (artwork in the public domain; photo: ©Trustees of the British Museum) [side-by-side viewer]
  1. 1. Joachim von Sandrart, L’Academia Todesca della Architectura, Scultura & Pittura: Oder Teutsche Academie der edlen Bau-, Bild-, und Mahlery-Künste (Nuremburg: Jacob Sandrart; Frankfurt: Matthaei Merians; printed by Johann-Philipp Miltenberger, 1675), vol. 1, part 2, book3, chapt. 22, p. 326: “Demnach bliebe er beständig bey seinem angenommenen Brauch, und scheuete sich nicht wider unsere Kunst-Reglen, als die Anatomia und Maas der menschlichen Gliedmaßen, wider die Perspectiva und den Nutzen der antichen Statuen, wider Raphaels Zeichenkunst und vernünftige Ausbildungen auch wider die unsere Profession höchst-nöhtigen Academien zu streiten, und denenselben zu widersprechen, vorgebend, daß man sich einig und allein an die Natur und keine andere Reglen binden solle.” I quote most of Ernst van de Wetering’s translation of this passage in Rembrandt: A Genius and His Impact, exh. cat., ed. Albert Blankert et al. (Melbourne: National Gallery of Australia, and Sydney: Art Exhibitions Australia/Zwolle: Waanders, 1997), 63, but I return to a slightly more literal translation of the last phrase.

  2. 2. Sandrart was in Amsterdam between 1637 and 1645. H. Perry Chapman, Rembrandt’s Self-Portraits (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1990),132–36; and Chapman, “Rembrandt, Van Gogh: Rivalry and Emulation,” in Rembrandt: Three Faces of the Master, ed. Benedict Leca (Cincinnati Art Museum, 2008), 17–49; Eric Jan Sluijter, “Rembrandt and the Rules of Art Revisited,” Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen 51 (2009): 121–29; and Sluijter, Rembrandt and the Female Nude (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2006), esp. 195–97 and 212–19.

  3. 3. Sluijter, Rembrandt and the Female Nude, 217, discusses Sandrart’s text in relation to this longstanding debate. For an extensive account of the literature on Rembrandt’s picture, see Walter Liedtke, Dutch Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art/New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007), 629–54; and, in updated but abbreviated form, at http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/437394. Additional discussions of the picture can be found in Philipp and Raina Fehl’s introduction to the critical edition of Junius’s Painting of the Ancients of 1638, The Literature of Classical Art, ed. Keith Aldrich and P. and R. Fehl (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Oxford: University of California Press, 1991), xlviii-xlix and opposite fig. 16; Xavier F. Salomon and Helen Langdon, “Of Men and Mechanical Doves: Salvator Rosa’s Archytas for Antonio Ruffo,” Boletín del Museo del Prado 28, no. 46 (2010): 22–38; Jonathan Bikker et al., Rembrandt: The Late Works, exh. cat. (London: National Gallery, and Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2014), 216–18; and Wetering, Ernst van de, A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings VI: Rembrandt’s Paintings Revisited—A Complete Survey (Dordrecht: Springer, 2014).

  4. 4. Franciscus Junius, De pictura veterum (Amsterdam: Johannes Blaeu, 1637); The Painting of the Ancients, in Three Bookes (London: R. Hodgkinsonne, 1638); and De schilder-konst der Oude, begrepen in drie boecken (Middelburg: Zacharias Roman, 1641). In the foregoing I quote Junius’s English text, as printed in the critical edition, The Literature of Classical Art, making note of any substantive differences between it and the 1641 Dutch edition.

  5. 5. Longinus, On the Sublime [Peri hypsous], trans. H. L. Havell (London: Macmillan, 1890). For the reception of Peri hypsous before Nicolas Boileau’s translation of 1674, see Caroline van Eck et al., eds., Translations of the Sublime: The Early Modern Reception and Dissemination of the Peri Hupsous in Rhetoric, the Visual Arts, Architecture and the Theater (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012). On Junius and Longinus, see Allan Ellenius, De Arte Pingendi: Latin Art Literature in Seventeenth-Century Sweden and Its International Background (Uppsala and Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1960), 76–78; Colette Nativel, “Le traité ‘Du sublime’ et la pensée esthétique anglaise du Junius à Reynolds,” in Acta conventus neo-latini hafniensis: Proceedings of the Eighth International Congress of Neo-Latin Studies, Copenhagen, 12–17 Aug. 1991, ed. Rhoda Schnur (Binghamton, N.Y.: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1994), 721–30; Judith Dundas, “Franciscus Junius’s ‘The Painting of the Ancients’ and the Painted Poetry of Ovid,” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 3 no. 2 (Fall 1996): 159–70; Judith Dundas, Sidney and Junius on Poetry and Painting: From the Margins to the Center (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2007), 100–101, 106–7, 207; Thijs Weststeijn, Art and Antiquity in the Netherlands and Britain: The Vernacular Arcadia of Franciscus Junius (1591–1677) (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2015); and Weststeijn’s essay in the present issue.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/9789004283992

  6. 6. In their introduction to The Literature of Classical Art, xlvi–xlix, Philipp and Raina Fehl tentatively suggest a connection between Rembrandt’s Aristotle and Junius, citing a copy of the double portrait Anthony van Dyck painted of Earl and Lady Arundel about 1639/40 (known as the “Madagascar Portrait,” Sussex, Arundel Castle). The undated copy (Kent, Knole House) features a third figure, sometimes identified as Junius, standing in the background with his hand resting on a bust then understood to represent Homer. The uncertainty of the figure’s identification and of the circumstances of the work’s execution make it impossible to draw any conclusions, but it is worthwhile to note that Junius was in Amsterdam in the 1650s.

  7. 7. Julius S. Held, Rembrandt Studies, originally published as Rembrandt’s Aristotle and Other Rembrandt Studies, 1969 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991), esp. 12–13.

  8. 8. Jeroen Giltaij, Ruffo en Rembrandt: Over een Siciliaanse verzamelaar in de zeventiende eeuw die drie schilderijen by Rembrandt bestelde (Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 1999), 43–44, 160–61. In the letter, the agent (Cornelis Gijbertsz van Goor) states that he is “now taking the opportunity of the departure to Naples of the ship the St. Bartolomeo,” having “delivered to the captain a crate containing the painting.” Giltaij notes that this letter was stamped July 20, 1654, which could be the date it was actually sent or the date it arrived in Messina.

  9. 9. Gary Schwartz, Rembrandt, His Life, His Paintings: A New Biography with All Accessible Paintings Illustrated in Color (New York: Viking, 1985),302, suggests that Jan Six might have played some role in the genesis of the picture. Rembrandt portrayed Six twice, in an etching of 1647 and in an oil of 1654. The latter (Amsterdam, Collectie Six) is undated but universally believed to be the one Six recorded in 1654 in a chronostichon in his large Pandora album, and it has long been connected to the concept of sprezzatura, which, as I will discuss below, relates to the Longinian sublime. For the earliest discussion of the portrait in connection with sprezzatura, see Eddy de Jongh, “Review of Hollandse schilders in the gouden eeuw by Bob Haak” Simiolus 15, no. 1 (1985): 67; see also Ernst van de Wetering, Rembrandt: The Painter at Work, revised ed. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2009), 161–62, and Marieke de Winkel, Fashion and Fancy: Dress and Meaning in Rembrandt’s Paintings (Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, 2006), 122-24.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.5117/9789053569177

  10. 10. Held, Rembrandt Studies, 26, and Giltaij, Ruffo en Rembrandt, 44, 125–26. As Giltaij explains, another annotation of January 8, 1657, repeats the Albertus Magnus identification, as do some of the later inventories, but as Liedtke has persuasively argued (Dutch Paintings, 633), these constitute shorthand repetitions of the 1654 entry.

  11. 11. There are numerous reasons for and against associating Ruffo’s Alexander with the so-called Man in Armor in Glasgow. Jeroen Giltaij in Rembrandt: A Genius and His Impact, 134, argued against the identification on the basis of the dimensions of the Glasgow work with and without the added strips of canvas, the fact that Ruffo’s Alexander is described as a seated figure, and the presence of the Glasgow painting in the collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1764, when according to an inventory of 1783 the Alexander was still in Ruffo’s collection. Paul Crenshaw, however, is at work on a forthcoming publication in which he, developing an argument he made in 2006 (Paul Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy: The Artist, His Patrons, and the Art Market in Seventeenth-Century Netherlands(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 126, 128, 189n70), presents a new theory concerning the work’s provenance and revisits the possibility that the Glasgow painting is indeed Ruffo’s Alexander.

  12. 12. Held, Rembrandt Studies, 26; Giltaij, Ruffo en Rembrandt, 43–45, 163–64; and Liedtke, Dutch Paintings, 634, who stresses the significance of this letter, from Ruffo himself, versus inventories made by someone in his employ. Based on these documents and the 1678 inventory of Ruffo’s collection, which lists the work as “Aristotile con la sua mano su una testa,” (first published in 1916), G. J. Hoogewerff, “Rembrandt en een Italiaansche Maecenas,” Oud Holland 35 (1917): 129–48, was the first to identify the Met’’s picture, until then referred to as a representation of Virgil, Torquato Tasso, or Pieter Cornelisz Hooft, as the one recorded in Ruffo’s collection.

  13. 13. Walter Liedtke, “The Meanings of Rembrandt’s Aristotle with a Bust of Homer,” in Collected Opinions: Essays in Honour of Alfred Bader, ed. Volker Manuth and Axel Rüger (London: Paul Holberton, 2004), 76, and Liedtke, Dutch Paintings, 629–54. Herbert von Einem, “Rembrandt und Homerus,” Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 14 (1952), 189, was the first to cite the Joos van Wassenhove picture in relation to Rembrandt’s. In addition, Held, Rembrandt Studies, 28, 41, noted that ancient accounts of Aristotle described him as a man who wore many rings; de Winkel, Fashion and Fancy, 210 and 319n99, identifies Aelian’s Variae historiae as one such source, and further notes several texts, including Junius’s Painting of the Ancients, that specify that Aristotle should be depicted with his arm extended. See also Jan Hendrik Jongkees, Fulvio Orsini’s Imagines and the Portrait of Aristotle (Groningen: J. B. Wolters, 1960).
    http://dx.doi.org/10.5117/9789053569177

  14. 14. Paul Crenshaw, for example, upholds Held’s analysis but argues that the picture portrays instead the ancient painter Apelles: Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy, 148–52.

  15. 15. Jan Emmens, Rembrandt en de regels van de kunst (Utrecht: Haentjens Dekker & Gumbert, 1968), 169–76, esp. 174. The only scholars to endorse Emmens’s idea are Pieter J. J. van Thiel, Rembrandt 1669/1969, exh. cat. (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 1969), 64–66; and Keith Aldrich and Philipp and Raina Fehl, who, in their introduction to The Literature of Classical Art, opposite fig. 16, refer to “the union of the genius of Homer and the reason of Aristotle.”

  16. 16. Emmens, Rembrandt en de regels van de kunst.

  17. 17. Ibid., 138–45. Emmens does later admit (p. 174) that there was in this part of the century some preference given to nature. See also Jan Emmens, “Natuur, onderwijzing en oefening. Bij een drieluik van Gerrit Dou,” Album discipulorum, aangeboden aan J. G. van Gelder ter gelegenheid van zijn zestigste verjaardag 27 Februari 1963., ed. Josua Bruyn et al. (Utrecht: Dekker & Gumbert, 1963), 125–36.

  18. 18. In his 1963 essay (see previous note), Emmens offers as a primary example an early eighteenth-century text: Arnold Houbraken’s Groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen (Amsterdam: printed by the author, 1718–21), specifically his biography of Michiel van Musscher (vol. 3, p. 5), which indeed attributes to Aristotle the following phrase: “Three things are needed to achieve learning: nature, teaching, and practice; but all will be fruitless unless practice follows nature and teaching.” Emmens also cites Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst: anders de zichtbaere werelt (Rotterdam: François van Hoogstraten, 1678), 13–18, which does address all three concepts but nonetheless focuses on the opposition of nature and art. His only explicit seventeenth-century example is the poet Theodoor Rodenburg’s Eglentiers poëtens borst-weringh of 1619, though he also follows Allan Ellenius, De Arte Pingendi, 73, in suggesting that the structure of the second book of Junius’s Painting of the Ancients was inspired by this triad. Although Junius ends this book with a chapter on individual fame, noting as its ingredients “the divine gift of a prone and capable nature, the diligent care of parents and masters, the feare of wholesome lawes, the earnestnesse of emulating, the simplicitie and sweetnesse of these Arts,” (Junius, The Painting of the Ancients, bk. 2, chapt. 14, sect. 1, p. 190), the main thrust is the development and periodic decline of painting as an art form in antiquity and the social and cultural factors that contributed to it.

  19. 19. Jan Vos, Medea (Amsterdam: J. Lescailje, 1667). On Vos, see also Sluijter, Rembrandt and the Female Nude, 217.

  20. 20. Andries Pels, Q. Horatius Flaccus dichtkunst op onze tijden en zeden gepast (Amsterdam: Jan Bouman, 1677).

  21. 21. Ibid., 35–36.

  22. 22. Ibid.

  23. 23. Andries Pels, Gebruik, én misbruik des tooneels (Amsterdam: Albert Magnus, 1681).

  24. 24. Constantijn Huygens, Mijn jeugd, trans. C. L. Heesakkers (Amsterdam, Em. Querido’s Uitgeverij, 1987). The original Latin manuscript is in the Koninklijke Bibiotheek in The Hague (KW KA 48). For a discussion of these remarks, see Sluijter, Rembrandt and the Female Nude, 101–2.

  25. 25. Huygens, Mijn jeugd, 42–43.

  26. 26. Ibid., 85. The original Latin reads: “Ut suum cuique tribuam, nec alterum laedam tamen, (mea enim quid interest?) nihil praeceptoribus debent, ingenio omnia, ut, si nemine praeeunte relicti olim sibi fuissent et pingendi forte impetum cepissent, eodem evasuros fuisse persuadear, quo nunc, ut falso creditur, manu ducti adscenderunt.”

  27. 27. Nativel, “Le traité ‘Du sublime,’” 725, also links Junius’s “grace” to the Longinian sublime. On Samuel van Hoogstraten’s similar use of the term and his own translation of the sublime as “waarlijk groot,” see Weststeijn, The Visible World, 154–59, esp. 155 and 157. For the broader history of the term, with discussion of Junius’s use of it, see Samuel Holt Monk, “A Grace Beyond the Reach of Art,” Journal of the History of Ideas 5, no. 2 (April 1944): 131–50; and Richard E. Spear, The “Divine” Guido: Religion, Sex, Money and Art in the World of Guido Reni (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997), 102–14. See also Nicola Courtright, “Origins and Meanings of Rembrandt’s Late Drawing Style,” Art Bulletin 78, no. 3 (Sept. 1996): 485–510.

  28. 28. Longinus, On the Sublime, chapt. 1, sect. 3, p. 2).

  29. 29. On Longinus and the concept of genius, see Penelope Murray, “Poetic Genius and Its Classical Origins,” in Genius: The History of an Idea, ed. Penelope Murray (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989), 16–18; and M. H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition (London, Oxford, and New York: Oxford University Press, 1953), 72–78. On Junius and genius, see Nativel, “Le traité ‘Du sublime,’” 723–25.

  30. 30. Nativel, “Le traité ‘Du sublime,’” 722, notes that Junius’s discussion of nature and art derives in part from Longinus.

  31. 31. Longinus, On the Sublime, chapt. 33, sect. 5, p. 64. Longinus refers here specifically to the Greek poet Archilochus, but as part of a passage in which Archilochus, Homer, Pindar, and Sophocles are all identified as writers whose god-gifted genius cannot be restrained by rules.

  32. 32. See Spear, The “Divine” Guido, 116–19, on the theological concept before and after the Reformation.

  33. 33. C.S.M. Rademaker, “Young Franciscus Junius: 1591–1621,” in Franciscus Junius F.F. and His Circle, ed. Rolf H. Bremmer Jr. (Amsterdam and Atlanta: Editions Rodopi, 1998), 13–14. Junius refused to takes side in the debate and was eventually forced to abandon his religious career.

  34. 34. Translated in Peter Y. De Jong, Crisis in the Reformed Churches: Essays in Commemoration of the Great Synod of Dort (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Reformed Fellowship, 1968), 209–13.

  35. 35. Monk, “A Grace Beyond the Reach of Art,” 131-­50.

  36. 36. Baldassare Castiglione, Book of the Courtier, trans. Leonard Eckstein Opdycke (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1903), 34.

  37. 37. Ibid. See Monk, “A Grace Beyond the Reach of Art,” 139–40, and Spear, The “Divine” Guido, 104.

  38. 38. Cesare Ripa, Iconologia, overo Descrittione di diverse imagini cavate dall’antichità, & di propria inventione (Rome: Lepido Facii, 1603), 195. Translated and discussed by Monk, “A Grace Beyond the Reach of Art,” 136. Junius echoes these words when he writes, in explicit reference to Longinus, that art, aided by perspicuity, “though shee doth ravish the minds and hearts of them that view her workes, yet doe they feel themselves violently carried away, but think themselves gently led to a liking of what they see.” (Junius, Painting of the Ancients, bk. 1, chapt. 4, sect. 6, p. 58.

  39. 39. Anthony Blunt, Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450–1600 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1940), 93–98.

  40. 40. Translated and discussed by Blunt, Artistic Theory in Italy, 96.

  41. 41. Junius, Painting of the Ancients, bk. 1, chapt. 3, sect. 8, p. 38.

  42. 42. Longinus, On the Sublime, chapt. 1, sect. 3–4, pp. 2–3.

  43. 43. Nativel, “Le traité ‘Du sublime,’” 722–25.

  44. 44. Junius, Painting of the Ancients, bk. 3, chapt. 6, sect. 2, p. 287. Discussed by Nativel, “Le traité ‘Du sublime,’” 722.

  45. 45. Junius, Painting of the Ancients, bk. 1, chapt. 4, sect. 1, p. 44.

  46. 46. Ibid., bk. 1, chapt. 4, sect. 1, pp. 45–46.

  47. 47. Ibid., bk. 3, chapt. 1, sect. 15, pp. 219–20.

  48. 48. Ibid.

  49. 49. Ibid., bk. 3, chapt. 7, sect. 3, p. 297.

  50. 50. Ibid., bk. 3, chapt. 6, sect. 1, p. 284.

  51. 51. Ibid., bk. 3, chapt. 6, sect. 2, pp. 285–86.

  52. 52. Ibid., bk. 3, chapt. 6, sect. 3, pp. 287–88.

  53. 53. Ibid., bk. 2, chapt. 11, sect. 7, p. 179. Discussed by Nativel, “Le traité ‘Du sublime’ et la pensée esthétique anglaise,” 725. For this invocation of Longinus (who is explicitly named in Junius’s Latin edition), I also thank Wieneke Jansen, who is currently preparing an article on the reception of Longinus in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century for a forthcoming special issue of Lias.

  54. 54. Junius, Painting of the Ancients, bk. 3, chapt. 6, sect. 6, pp. 292–93.

  55. 55. Daniel Heinsius, De tragoediae constitutione liber, in quo inter caetera tota de hac Aristotelis sentential dilucide explicatur (Leiden: Ex officinâ Elsevirianâ, 1643); Gerardus Vossius, Poeticarum institutionum, libri tres (Amsterdam: Apud Ludovicum Elzevirium, 1647). See also Edith Kern, The Influence of Heinsius and Vossius upon French Dramatic Theory (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1949).

  56. 56. Mieke B. Smits-Veldt, Het Nederlandse renaissancetoneel (Utrecht: HES, 1991), 106, and Bettina Noak, “Vondel as a Dramatist: The Representation of Language and Body,” in Joost van den Vondel (1587–1679): Dutch Playwright in the Golden Age, ed. Jan Bloemendal and Frans-Willem Korsten (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012), 117–18.

  57. 57. See commentary by Jan Konst in his edition of Jan Six, Medea treurspel (Berlin: Freie Universität, 2000).

  58. 58. Joost van den Vondel, J. v. Vondels poëzy of verscheide gedichten (Amsterdam: Joost Hartgers, 1650), and Vondel, Q. Horatius Flaccus, Lierzangen en dichtkunst (Amsterdam: Luidewijck Spillebout, 1654).

  59. 59. For an alternative view, see Arie Gelderblom, “A Rejuvenating Corset: Literary Classicism in the Dutch Republic,” in Dutch Classicism in Seventeenth Century Painting, ed. Albert Blankert, (Rotterdam: Boijmans Museum; Frankfurt: Städelsches Institut, 1999), 54–61.

  60. 60. Amy Golahny, Rembrandt’s Reading (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2003), 123–25. See Deerste twaelf boecken Odysseae: Dat is, De Dolinghe van Ulysse, trans. D. Coornhert (Haarlem: Jan van Zuren, 1561; reprinted in Delft in 1593 and reissued numerous times); De tweede xii boecken Odysseae: Dat is, De Dolinge van Ulysse, trans. D. Coornhert (Amsterdam: Hendrick Barentsz, 1609); De eerste 12. boecken van de Ilyadas, trans. K. van Mander (Haarlem: Adr. Rooman, 1611); De Dooling van Ulisses in 24 boecken, trans. G. van Staveren (Amsterdam: Gerrit van Goedesberg en Klaas Fransz.; in de drukkery van Tymon Houthaak,1651); De Iliaden van Homerus, trans. J. H. Glazemaker (Amsterdam: Jan Rieuwersz, 1654–58).
    http://dx.doi.org/10.5117/9789053566091

  61. 61. The Poetics of Aristotle, trans. S. H. Butcher (London and New York: Macmillan, 1895), 31, part 8, and 83, part 23.

  62. 62. Jonathan Bikker in Rembrandt: The Late Works, 217–18, similarly interprets Aristotle’s expression as one of “divine ravishment” (enthousiasma).

  63. 63. See Christian Tümpel, “Ikonographische Beiträge zu Rembrandt (I): Zur Deutung und Interpretation seiner Historien,” Hamburg Jahrbuch 13 (1968): 95–106; and Tümpel, “Ikonographische Beiträge zu Rembrandt (II): Zur Deutung und Interpretation einzelner Werke,” Hamburg Jahrbuch 17 (1971): 20–38.

  64. 64. Many of them are depictions of the Old Testament figure Joseph, whose employment by Pharaoh does have negative implications of enslavement. See, for example, Arent de Gelder’s Benjamin’s Cup (Judah Pleading before Joseph), ca. 1680–85, The Hohenbuchau Collection.

  65. 65. The idea that Rembrandt and his contemporaries mistook such representations of Minerva for likenesses of Alexander was first proposed by Konrad Kraft, “Der behelmte Alexander der Große,” in Jahrbuch für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte 15 (1965): 7-8, and endorsed by Held, Rembrandt Studies, 31. Margaret Carroll, “Rembrandt’s Aristotle: Exemplary Beholder,” Artibus et Historiae 5, no 10 (1984): 49–50, esp. 45, argued against this, identifying the image on the medallion in the painting as Minerva and returning to the hypothesis first raised by Herbert von Einem that the chain represents the “golden chain of Homer,” a metaphor for continuity across time and between the divine and earthly. See von Einem, “Rembrandt und Homerus,” 187–89.

  66. 66. Junius, Painting of the Ancients, bk. 3, chapt. 6, sect. 7, p. 294.

  67. 67. Ibid.: “hoe onse vervrolickte herten door de helde van een verbaesde verwonderingh soetelick gevetert ende gevangen houdt.”

  68. 68. Salomon and Langdon, “Of Men and Mechanical Doves,” 28.

  69. 69. alomon and Langdon, “Of Men and Mechanical Doves,” 28

  70. 70. Pels, Gebruik, én misbruik des tooneels, 36–37: “’t Moest al gevólgd zyn, óf natuur was niet te vréên;/Ten minsten zyne, die geen régels, nóch geen réden/Van évenmaatigheid gedoogde in ‘s ménschen léden.” My translation is based largely on de Winkel, Fashion and Fancy, 195.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.5117/9789053569177

  71. 71. bid. The entire sentence reads: “Maar óch! hoe éd’ler geest, hoe meer zy zal verwiIld’ren,/Zo zy zich aan geen grond, én snoer van régels bindt,/Maar alles uit zich zélf te weeten onderwindt!” My translation is informed by that in Svetlana Alpers, Rembrandt’s Enterprise: The Studio and the Market (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 137–39n48.

  72. 72. Longinus, On the Sublime, chapt. 33, sect. 4, p. 64.

Abrams, M. H. The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition. London, Oxford, and New York: Oxford University Press, 1953.

Alpers, Svetlana. Rembrandt’s Enterprise: The Studio and the Market. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Aristotle. The Poetics of Aristotle. Translated by S. H. Butcher. London and New York: Macmillan, 1895.

Bikker, Jonathan, et al. Rembrandt: The Late Works. Exh. cat. London: National Gallery, and Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2014.

Blankert, Albert, et al. Rembrandt: A Genius and His Impact. Exh. cat. Melbourne: National Gallery of Australia, and Sydney: Art Exhibitions Australia/Zwolle: Waanders, 1997.

Blunt, Anthony. Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450–1600. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1940.

Carroll, Margaret. “Rembrandt’s Aristotle: Exemplary Beholder.” Artibus et Historiae 5, no. 10 (1984): 35–56.

Castiglione, Baldassare. Book of the Courtier. Translated by Leonard Eckstein Opdycke. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1903.

Chapman, H. Perry. Rembrandt’s Self-Portraits: A Study in Seventeenth-Century Identity. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1990.

________. “Rembrandt, Van Gogh: Rivalry and Emulation.” In Rembrandt: Three Faces of the Master, exh. cat., edited by Benedict Leca, 17–49. Cincinnati: Cincinnati Art Museum, 2008.

Courtright, Nicola. “Origins and Meanings of Rembrandt’s Late Drawing Style.” Art Bulletin 78, no. 3 (Sept. 1996): 485–510.

Crenshaw, Paul. Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy: The Artist, His Patrons, and the Art Market in Seventeenth-Century Netherlands. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

De Jong, Peter Y. Crisis in the Reformed Churches: Essays in Commemoration of the Great Synod of Dort. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Reformed Fellowship, 1968.

Dundas, Judith. “Franciscus Junius’s ‘The Painting of the Ancients’ and the Painted Poetry of Ovid.” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 3, no. 2 (Fall 1996): 159–70.

________. Sidney and Junius on Poetry and Painting: From the Margins to the Center. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2007.

Eck, Caroline van; Bussels, Stijn; Delbeke, Maarten; Pieters, Jürgen (eds.). Translations of the Sublime: The Early Modern Reception and Dissemination of the Peri Hupsous in Rhetoric, the Visual Arts, Architecture and the Theater. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012.

Einem, Herbert von. “Rembrandt und Homerus.” Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 14 (1952): 182–205.

Ellenius, Allan. De Arte Pingendi: Latin Art Literature in Seventeenth-Century Sweden and Its International Background. Uppsala and Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1960.

Emmens, Jan. “Natuur, onderwijzing en oefening. Bij een drieluik van Gerrit Dou.” In Album discipulorum, aangeboden aan J. G. van Gelder ter gelegenheid van zijn zestigste verjaardag 27 Februari 1963, edited by Josua Bruyn et al., 125–36. Utrecht: Dekker & Gumbert, 1963.

________. Rembrandt en de regels van de kunst. Utrecht: Dekker & Gumbert, 1968.

Gelderblom, Arie. “A Rejuvenating Corset: Literary Classicism in the Dutch Republic.” In Dutch Classicism in Seventeenth Century Painting, edited by Albert Blankert, 54–61. Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 1999.

Giltaij, Jeroen. Ruffo en Rembrandt: Over een Siciliaanse verzamelaar in de zeventiende eeuw die drie schilderijen bij Rembrandt bestelde. Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 1999.

Golahny, Amy. Rembrandt’s Reading: The Artist’s Bookshelf of Ancient Poetry and History. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2003. http://dx.doi.org/10.5117/9789053566091

Heinsius, Daniel. De tragoediae constitutione liber, in quo inter caetera tota de hac Aristotelis sentential dilucide explicatur. Leiden: Ex officinâ Elsevirianâ, 1643.

Held, Julius S. Rembrandt Studies. Originally published as Rembrandt’s Aristotle and Other Rembrandt Studies, 1969. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991.

Hoogewerff, G. J. “Rembrandt en een Italiaansche Maecenas.” Oud Holland 35 (1917): 129–48.

Hoogstraten, Samuel van. Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst: anders de zichtbaere werelt. Rotterdam: François van Hoogstraten, 1678.

Houbraken, Arnold. De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen. 3 vols. Amsterdam: printed by the author, 1718–21.

Huygens, Constantijn. Mijn jeugd. Translated by C. L. Heesakkers. Amsterdam: Em. Querido’s Uitgeverij, 1987.

Jongh, Eddy de. Review of Hollandse schilders in the gouden eeuw by Bob Haak. Simiolus 15, no. 1 (1985): 65–68.

Jongkees, Jan Hendrik. Fulvio Orsini’s Imagines and the Portrait of Aristotle. Groningen: J. B. Wolters, 1960.

Junius, Franciscus. De pictura veterum. Amsterdam: Johannes Blaeu, 1637.

________. The Painting of the Ancients: De pictura veterum, according to the English Translation (1638). Vol. 1 of The Literature of Classical Art. Edited by Keith Aldrich, Philipp Fehl, and Raina Fehl. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Oxford: University of California Press, 1991.

________. De schilder-konst der Oude, begrepen in drie boecken. Middelburg: Zacharias Roman, 1641.

Kern, Edith. The Influence of Heinsius and Vossius upon French Dramatic Theory. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1949.

Kraft, Konrad. “Der behelmte Alexander der Große.” Jahrbuch für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte 15 (1965): 7-32.

Liedtke, Walter. “The Meanings of Rembrandt’s Aristotle with a Bust of Homer.” In Collected Opinions: Essays on Netherlandish Art in Honour of Alfred Bader, edited by Volker Manuth and Axel Rüger, 72–87. London: Paul Holberton, 2004.

________. Dutch Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art/New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007.

Longinus. On the Sublime. Translated by H. L. Havell. London: Macmillan, 1890.

Monk, Samuel Holt. “A Grace Beyond the Reach of Art.” Journal of the History of Ideas 5, no. 2 (April 1944): 131–50.

Murray, Penelope. “Poetic Genius and its Classical Origins.” In Genius: The History of an Idea, edited by Penelope Murray, 9–31. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989.

Nativel, Colette. “Le Traité ‘Du sublime’ et la pensée esthétique anglaise de Junius à Reynolds.” In Acta conventus neo-latini hafniensis: Proceedings of the Eighth International Congress of Neo-Latin Studies, Copenhagen, 12–17 August 1991, edited by Rhoda Schnur, 721–30. Binghamton, N.Y.: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1994.

Noak, Bettina. “Vondel as a Dramatist: The Representation of Language and Body.” In Joost van den Vondel (1587–1679): Dutch Playwright in the Golden Age, edited by Jan Bloemendal and Frans-Willem Korsten, 115–38. Leiden and Boston, Brill, 2012.

Pels, Andries. Q. Horatius Flaccus dichtkunst op onze tijden en zeden gepast. Amsterdam: Jan Bouman, 1677.

________. Gebruik, én misbruik des tooneels. Amsterdam: Albert Magnus, 1681.

Rademaker, C. S. M. “Young Franciscus Junius: 1591–1621.” In Franciscus Junius F.F. and His Circle, edited by Rolf H. Bremmer Jr., 1–17. Amsterdam and Atlanta: Editions Rodopi B.V., 1998.

Ripa, Cesare. Iconologia, overo Descrittione di diverse imagini cavate dall’antichità, & di propria inventioneRome: Lepido Facii, 1603.

Salomon, Xavier F., and Helen Langdon. “Of Men and Mechanical Doves: Salvator Rosa’s Archytas for Antonio Ruffo.” Boletín del Museo del Prado 28, no. 46 (2010): 22–38.

Sandrart, Joachim von. L’Academia Todesca della Architectura, Scultura & Pittura: Oder Teutsche Academieder edlen Bau-, Bild-, und Mahlery-Künste. 3 vols. Nuremburg: Jacob Sandrart; Frankfurt: Matthaei Merians; printed by Johann-Philipp Miltenberger, 1675.

Schwartz, Gary. Rembrandt, His Life, His Paintings: A New Biography with All Accessible Paintings Illustrated in Color. New York: Viking, 1985.

Six, Jan. Medea treurspel. Edited by Jan Konst. Berlin: Freie Universität, 2000.

Sluijter, Eric Jan. “Rembrandt and the Rules of Art Revisited.” Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen 51 (2009): 121–29.

________. Rembrandt and the Female Nude. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2006.

Smits-Veldt, Mieke B. Het Nederlandse renaissancetoneel. Utrecht: HES, 1991.

Spear, Richard E. The “Divine” Guido: Religion, Sex, Money and Art in the World of Guido Reni. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997.

Thiel, Pieter J.J. van. Rembrandt 1669/1969. Exh. cat. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 1969.

Tümpel, Christian. “Ikonographische Beiträge zu Rembrandt (I): Zur Deutung und Interpretation seiner Historien.” Hamburg Jahrbuch 13 (1968): 95–106.

________. “Ikonographische Beiträge zu Rembrandt (II): Zur Deutung und Interpretation einzelner Werke.” Hamburg Jahrbuch 17 (1971): 20–38.

Vondel, Joost van den. J. v. Vondels poëzy of verscheide gedichten. Amsterdam: Joost Hartgers, 1650.

________, trans. Q. Horatius Flaccus, Lierzangen en dichtkunst. Amsterdam: Luidewijck Spillebout, 1654.

Vos, Jan. Medea. Amsterdam: J. Lescailje, 1667.

Vossius, Gerardus. Poeticarum institutionum, libri tres. Originally published 1647. Translated and edited by Jan Bloemendal in collaboration with Edwin Rabbie. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2010.

Weststeijn, Thijs. The Visible World: Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Art Theory and the Legitimation of Painting in the Dutch Golden Age. Translated by Beverley Jackson and Lynne Richards. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008.

________. Art and Antiquity in the Netherlands and Britain: The Vernacular Arcadia of Franciscus Junius (1591–1677). Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/9789004283992

Wetering, Ernst van de. Rembrandt: The Painter at Work. Revised ed. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2009.

________. A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings VI: Rembrandt’s Paintings Revisited—A Complete Survey. Dordrecht: Springer, 2014.

Winkel, Marieke de. Fashion and Fancy: Dress and Meaning in Rembrandt’s Paintings. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2006. http://dx.doi.org/10.5117/9789053569177

List of Illustrations

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669),  Aristotle with a Bust of Homer,  1653, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Fig. 1 Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, 1653, oil on canvas, 143.5 x 136.5 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, special contributions and funds given or bequeathed by friends of the Museum, 1961 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
 Joos van Wassenhove (active 1460–1480),  Aristotle,  ca. 1476, Paris, Musée du Louvre
Fig. 2 Joos van Wassenhove (active 1460–1480), Aristotle, ca. 1476, oil on panel, 104 x 68 cm. Paris, Musée du Louvre (artwork in the public domain; photo: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, N.Y.) [side-by-side viewer]
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669),  Saint Matthew and the Angel,  1661, Paris, Musée du Louvre
Fig. 3 Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), Saint Matthew and the Angel, 1661, oil on canvas, 52 x 66 cm. Paris, Musée du Louvre (artwork in the public domain; photo: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, N.Y.) [side-by-side viewer]
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669),  Detail of fig. 1, Aristotle with a Bust of Homer,  1653, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Fig. 4 Detail of fig. 1 [side-by-side viewer]
Greek coin with the head of Athena (obverse) and ,  ca. 310–275 BCE, London, British Museum
Fig. 5 Greek coin with the head of Athena (obverse) and the standing figure of Nike and inscription of Alexander’s name (reverse), ca. 310–275 BCE. London, British Museum (artwork in the public domain; photo: ©Trustees of the British Museum) [side-by-side viewer]

Footnotes

  1. 1. Joachim von Sandrart, L’Academia Todesca della Architectura, Scultura & Pittura: Oder Teutsche Academie der edlen Bau-, Bild-, und Mahlery-Künste (Nuremburg: Jacob Sandrart; Frankfurt: Matthaei Merians; printed by Johann-Philipp Miltenberger, 1675), vol. 1, part 2, book3, chapt. 22, p. 326: “Demnach bliebe er beständig bey seinem angenommenen Brauch, und scheuete sich nicht wider unsere Kunst-Reglen, als die Anatomia und Maas der menschlichen Gliedmaßen, wider die Perspectiva und den Nutzen der antichen Statuen, wider Raphaels Zeichenkunst und vernünftige Ausbildungen auch wider die unsere Profession höchst-nöhtigen Academien zu streiten, und denenselben zu widersprechen, vorgebend, daß man sich einig und allein an die Natur und keine andere Reglen binden solle.” I quote most of Ernst van de Wetering’s translation of this passage in Rembrandt: A Genius and His Impact, exh. cat., ed. Albert Blankert et al. (Melbourne: National Gallery of Australia, and Sydney: Art Exhibitions Australia/Zwolle: Waanders, 1997), 63, but I return to a slightly more literal translation of the last phrase.

  2. 2. Sandrart was in Amsterdam between 1637 and 1645. H. Perry Chapman, Rembrandt’s Self-Portraits (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1990),132–36; and Chapman, “Rembrandt, Van Gogh: Rivalry and Emulation,” in Rembrandt: Three Faces of the Master, ed. Benedict Leca (Cincinnati Art Museum, 2008), 17–49; Eric Jan Sluijter, “Rembrandt and the Rules of Art Revisited,” Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen 51 (2009): 121–29; and Sluijter, Rembrandt and the Female Nude (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2006), esp. 195–97 and 212–19.

  3. 3. Sluijter, Rembrandt and the Female Nude, 217, discusses Sandrart’s text in relation to this longstanding debate. For an extensive account of the literature on Rembrandt’s picture, see Walter Liedtke, Dutch Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art/New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007), 629–54; and, in updated but abbreviated form, at http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/437394. Additional discussions of the picture can be found in Philipp and Raina Fehl’s introduction to the critical edition of Junius’s Painting of the Ancients of 1638, The Literature of Classical Art, ed. Keith Aldrich and P. and R. Fehl (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Oxford: University of California Press, 1991), xlviii-xlix and opposite fig. 16; Xavier F. Salomon and Helen Langdon, “Of Men and Mechanical Doves: Salvator Rosa’s Archytas for Antonio Ruffo,” Boletín del Museo del Prado 28, no. 46 (2010): 22–38; Jonathan Bikker et al., Rembrandt: The Late Works, exh. cat. (London: National Gallery, and Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2014), 216–18; and Wetering, Ernst van de, A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings VI: Rembrandt’s Paintings Revisited—A Complete Survey (Dordrecht: Springer, 2014).

  4. 4. Franciscus Junius, De pictura veterum (Amsterdam: Johannes Blaeu, 1637); The Painting of the Ancients, in Three Bookes (London: R. Hodgkinsonne, 1638); and De schilder-konst der Oude, begrepen in drie boecken (Middelburg: Zacharias Roman, 1641). In the foregoing I quote Junius’s English text, as printed in the critical edition, The Literature of Classical Art, making note of any substantive differences between it and the 1641 Dutch edition.

  5. 5. Longinus, On the Sublime [Peri hypsous], trans. H. L. Havell (London: Macmillan, 1890). For the reception of Peri hypsous before Nicolas Boileau’s translation of 1674, see Caroline van Eck et al., eds., Translations of the Sublime: The Early Modern Reception and Dissemination of the Peri Hupsous in Rhetoric, the Visual Arts, Architecture and the Theater (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012). On Junius and Longinus, see Allan Ellenius, De Arte Pingendi: Latin Art Literature in Seventeenth-Century Sweden and Its International Background (Uppsala and Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1960), 76–78; Colette Nativel, “Le traité ‘Du sublime’ et la pensée esthétique anglaise du Junius à Reynolds,” in Acta conventus neo-latini hafniensis: Proceedings of the Eighth International Congress of Neo-Latin Studies, Copenhagen, 12–17 Aug. 1991, ed. Rhoda Schnur (Binghamton, N.Y.: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1994), 721–30; Judith Dundas, “Franciscus Junius’s ‘The Painting of the Ancients’ and the Painted Poetry of Ovid,” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 3 no. 2 (Fall 1996): 159–70; Judith Dundas, Sidney and Junius on Poetry and Painting: From the Margins to the Center (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2007), 100–101, 106–7, 207; Thijs Weststeijn, Art and Antiquity in the Netherlands and Britain: The Vernacular Arcadia of Franciscus Junius (1591–1677) (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2015); and Weststeijn’s essay in the present issue.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/9789004283992

  6. 6. In their introduction to The Literature of Classical Art, xlvi–xlix, Philipp and Raina Fehl tentatively suggest a connection between Rembrandt’s Aristotle and Junius, citing a copy of the double portrait Anthony van Dyck painted of Earl and Lady Arundel about 1639/40 (known as the “Madagascar Portrait,” Sussex, Arundel Castle). The undated copy (Kent, Knole House) features a third figure, sometimes identified as Junius, standing in the background with his hand resting on a bust then understood to represent Homer. The uncertainty of the figure’s identification and of the circumstances of the work’s execution make it impossible to draw any conclusions, but it is worthwhile to note that Junius was in Amsterdam in the 1650s.

  7. 7. Julius S. Held, Rembrandt Studies, originally published as Rembrandt’s Aristotle and Other Rembrandt Studies, 1969 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991), esp. 12–13.

  8. 8. Jeroen Giltaij, Ruffo en Rembrandt: Over een Siciliaanse verzamelaar in de zeventiende eeuw die drie schilderijen by Rembrandt bestelde (Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 1999), 43–44, 160–61. In the letter, the agent (Cornelis Gijbertsz van Goor) states that he is “now taking the opportunity of the departure to Naples of the ship the St. Bartolomeo,” having “delivered to the captain a crate containing the painting.” Giltaij notes that this letter was stamped July 20, 1654, which could be the date it was actually sent or the date it arrived in Messina.

  9. 9. Gary Schwartz, Rembrandt, His Life, His Paintings: A New Biography with All Accessible Paintings Illustrated in Color (New York: Viking, 1985),302, suggests that Jan Six might have played some role in the genesis of the picture. Rembrandt portrayed Six twice, in an etching of 1647 and in an oil of 1654. The latter (Amsterdam, Collectie Six) is undated but universally believed to be the one Six recorded in 1654 in a chronostichon in his large Pandora album, and it has long been connected to the concept of sprezzatura, which, as I will discuss below, relates to the Longinian sublime. For the earliest discussion of the portrait in connection with sprezzatura, see Eddy de Jongh, “Review of Hollandse schilders in the gouden eeuw by Bob Haak” Simiolus 15, no. 1 (1985): 67; see also Ernst van de Wetering, Rembrandt: The Painter at Work, revised ed. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2009), 161–62, and Marieke de Winkel, Fashion and Fancy: Dress and Meaning in Rembrandt’s Paintings (Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, 2006), 122-24.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.5117/9789053569177

  10. 10. Held, Rembrandt Studies, 26, and Giltaij, Ruffo en Rembrandt, 44, 125–26. As Giltaij explains, another annotation of January 8, 1657, repeats the Albertus Magnus identification, as do some of the later inventories, but as Liedtke has persuasively argued (Dutch Paintings, 633), these constitute shorthand repetitions of the 1654 entry.

  11. 11. There are numerous reasons for and against associating Ruffo’s Alexander with the so-called Man in Armor in Glasgow. Jeroen Giltaij in Rembrandt: A Genius and His Impact, 134, argued against the identification on the basis of the dimensions of the Glasgow work with and without the added strips of canvas, the fact that Ruffo’s Alexander is described as a seated figure, and the presence of the Glasgow painting in the collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1764, when according to an inventory of 1783 the Alexander was still in Ruffo’s collection. Paul Crenshaw, however, is at work on a forthcoming publication in which he, developing an argument he made in 2006 (Paul Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy: The Artist, His Patrons, and the Art Market in Seventeenth-Century Netherlands(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 126, 128, 189n70), presents a new theory concerning the work’s provenance and revisits the possibility that the Glasgow painting is indeed Ruffo’s Alexander.

  12. 12. Held, Rembrandt Studies, 26; Giltaij, Ruffo en Rembrandt, 43–45, 163–64; and Liedtke, Dutch Paintings, 634, who stresses the significance of this letter, from Ruffo himself, versus inventories made by someone in his employ. Based on these documents and the 1678 inventory of Ruffo’s collection, which lists the work as “Aristotile con la sua mano su una testa,” (first published in 1916), G. J. Hoogewerff, “Rembrandt en een Italiaansche Maecenas,” Oud Holland 35 (1917): 129–48, was the first to identify the Met’’s picture, until then referred to as a representation of Virgil, Torquato Tasso, or Pieter Cornelisz Hooft, as the one recorded in Ruffo’s collection.

  13. 13. Walter Liedtke, “The Meanings of Rembrandt’s Aristotle with a Bust of Homer,” in Collected Opinions: Essays in Honour of Alfred Bader, ed. Volker Manuth and Axel Rüger (London: Paul Holberton, 2004), 76, and Liedtke, Dutch Paintings, 629–54. Herbert von Einem, “Rembrandt und Homerus,” Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 14 (1952), 189, was the first to cite the Joos van Wassenhove picture in relation to Rembrandt’s. In addition, Held, Rembrandt Studies, 28, 41, noted that ancient accounts of Aristotle described him as a man who wore many rings; de Winkel, Fashion and Fancy, 210 and 319n99, identifies Aelian’s Variae historiae as one such source, and further notes several texts, including Junius’s Painting of the Ancients, that specify that Aristotle should be depicted with his arm extended. See also Jan Hendrik Jongkees, Fulvio Orsini’s Imagines and the Portrait of Aristotle (Groningen: J. B. Wolters, 1960).
    http://dx.doi.org/10.5117/9789053569177

  14. 14. Paul Crenshaw, for example, upholds Held’s analysis but argues that the picture portrays instead the ancient painter Apelles: Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy, 148–52.

  15. 15. Jan Emmens, Rembrandt en de regels van de kunst (Utrecht: Haentjens Dekker & Gumbert, 1968), 169–76, esp. 174. The only scholars to endorse Emmens’s idea are Pieter J. J. van Thiel, Rembrandt 1669/1969, exh. cat. (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 1969), 64–66; and Keith Aldrich and Philipp and Raina Fehl, who, in their introduction to The Literature of Classical Art, opposite fig. 16, refer to “the union of the genius of Homer and the reason of Aristotle.”

  16. 16. Emmens, Rembrandt en de regels van de kunst.

  17. 17. Ibid., 138–45. Emmens does later admit (p. 174) that there was in this part of the century some preference given to nature. See also Jan Emmens, “Natuur, onderwijzing en oefening. Bij een drieluik van Gerrit Dou,” Album discipulorum, aangeboden aan J. G. van Gelder ter gelegenheid van zijn zestigste verjaardag 27 Februari 1963., ed. Josua Bruyn et al. (Utrecht: Dekker & Gumbert, 1963), 125–36.

  18. 18. In his 1963 essay (see previous note), Emmens offers as a primary example an early eighteenth-century text: Arnold Houbraken’s Groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen (Amsterdam: printed by the author, 1718–21), specifically his biography of Michiel van Musscher (vol. 3, p. 5), which indeed attributes to Aristotle the following phrase: “Three things are needed to achieve learning: nature, teaching, and practice; but all will be fruitless unless practice follows nature and teaching.” Emmens also cites Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst: anders de zichtbaere werelt (Rotterdam: François van Hoogstraten, 1678), 13–18, which does address all three concepts but nonetheless focuses on the opposition of nature and art. His only explicit seventeenth-century example is the poet Theodoor Rodenburg’s Eglentiers poëtens borst-weringh of 1619, though he also follows Allan Ellenius, De Arte Pingendi, 73, in suggesting that the structure of the second book of Junius’s Painting of the Ancients was inspired by this triad. Although Junius ends this book with a chapter on individual fame, noting as its ingredients “the divine gift of a prone and capable nature, the diligent care of parents and masters, the feare of wholesome lawes, the earnestnesse of emulating, the simplicitie and sweetnesse of these Arts,” (Junius, The Painting of the Ancients, bk. 2, chapt. 14, sect. 1, p. 190), the main thrust is the development and periodic decline of painting as an art form in antiquity and the social and cultural factors that contributed to it.

  19. 19. Jan Vos, Medea (Amsterdam: J. Lescailje, 1667). On Vos, see also Sluijter, Rembrandt and the Female Nude, 217.

  20. 20. Andries Pels, Q. Horatius Flaccus dichtkunst op onze tijden en zeden gepast (Amsterdam: Jan Bouman, 1677).

  21. 21. Ibid., 35–36.

  22. 22. Ibid.

  23. 23. Andries Pels, Gebruik, én misbruik des tooneels (Amsterdam: Albert Magnus, 1681).

  24. 24. Constantijn Huygens, Mijn jeugd, trans. C. L. Heesakkers (Amsterdam, Em. Querido’s Uitgeverij, 1987). The original Latin manuscript is in the Koninklijke Bibiotheek in The Hague (KW KA 48). For a discussion of these remarks, see Sluijter, Rembrandt and the Female Nude, 101–2.

  25. 25. Huygens, Mijn jeugd, 42–43.

  26. 26. Ibid., 85. The original Latin reads: “Ut suum cuique tribuam, nec alterum laedam tamen, (mea enim quid interest?) nihil praeceptoribus debent, ingenio omnia, ut, si nemine praeeunte relicti olim sibi fuissent et pingendi forte impetum cepissent, eodem evasuros fuisse persuadear, quo nunc, ut falso creditur, manu ducti adscenderunt.”

  27. 27. Nativel, “Le traité ‘Du sublime,’” 725, also links Junius’s “grace” to the Longinian sublime. On Samuel van Hoogstraten’s similar use of the term and his own translation of the sublime as “waarlijk groot,” see Weststeijn, The Visible World, 154–59, esp. 155 and 157. For the broader history of the term, with discussion of Junius’s use of it, see Samuel Holt Monk, “A Grace Beyond the Reach of Art,” Journal of the History of Ideas 5, no. 2 (April 1944): 131–50; and Richard E. Spear, The “Divine” Guido: Religion, Sex, Money and Art in the World of Guido Reni (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997), 102–14. See also Nicola Courtright, “Origins and Meanings of Rembrandt’s Late Drawing Style,” Art Bulletin 78, no. 3 (Sept. 1996): 485–510.

  28. 28. Longinus, On the Sublime, chapt. 1, sect. 3, p. 2).

  29. 29. On Longinus and the concept of genius, see Penelope Murray, “Poetic Genius and Its Classical Origins,” in Genius: The History of an Idea, ed. Penelope Murray (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989), 16–18; and M. H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition (London, Oxford, and New York: Oxford University Press, 1953), 72–78. On Junius and genius, see Nativel, “Le traité ‘Du sublime,’” 723–25.

  30. 30. Nativel, “Le traité ‘Du sublime,’” 722, notes that Junius’s discussion of nature and art derives in part from Longinus.

  31. 31. Longinus, On the Sublime, chapt. 33, sect. 5, p. 64. Longinus refers here specifically to the Greek poet Archilochus, but as part of a passage in which Archilochus, Homer, Pindar, and Sophocles are all identified as writers whose god-gifted genius cannot be restrained by rules.

  32. 32. See Spear, The “Divine” Guido, 116–19, on the theological concept before and after the Reformation.

  33. 33. C.S.M. Rademaker, “Young Franciscus Junius: 1591–1621,” in Franciscus Junius F.F. and His Circle, ed. Rolf H. Bremmer Jr. (Amsterdam and Atlanta: Editions Rodopi, 1998), 13–14. Junius refused to takes side in the debate and was eventually forced to abandon his religious career.

  34. 34. Translated in Peter Y. De Jong, Crisis in the Reformed Churches: Essays in Commemoration of the Great Synod of Dort (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Reformed Fellowship, 1968), 209–13.

  35. 35. Monk, “A Grace Beyond the Reach of Art,” 131-­50.

  36. 36. Baldassare Castiglione, Book of the Courtier, trans. Leonard Eckstein Opdycke (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1903), 34.

  37. 37. Ibid. See Monk, “A Grace Beyond the Reach of Art,” 139–40, and Spear, The “Divine” Guido, 104.

  38. 38. Cesare Ripa, Iconologia, overo Descrittione di diverse imagini cavate dall’antichità, & di propria inventione (Rome: Lepido Facii, 1603), 195. Translated and discussed by Monk, “A Grace Beyond the Reach of Art,” 136. Junius echoes these words when he writes, in explicit reference to Longinus, that art, aided by perspicuity, “though shee doth ravish the minds and hearts of them that view her workes, yet doe they feel themselves violently carried away, but think themselves gently led to a liking of what they see.” (Junius, Painting of the Ancients, bk. 1, chapt. 4, sect. 6, p. 58.

  39. 39. Anthony Blunt, Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450–1600 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1940), 93–98.

  40. 40. Translated and discussed by Blunt, Artistic Theory in Italy, 96.

  41. 41. Junius, Painting of the Ancients, bk. 1, chapt. 3, sect. 8, p. 38.

  42. 42. Longinus, On the Sublime, chapt. 1, sect. 3–4, pp. 2–3.

  43. 43. Nativel, “Le traité ‘Du sublime,’” 722–25.

  44. 44. Junius, Painting of the Ancients, bk. 3, chapt. 6, sect. 2, p. 287. Discussed by Nativel, “Le traité ‘Du sublime,’” 722.

  45. 45. Junius, Painting of the Ancients, bk. 1, chapt. 4, sect. 1, p. 44.

  46. 46. Ibid., bk. 1, chapt. 4, sect. 1, pp. 45–46.

  47. 47. Ibid., bk. 3, chapt. 1, sect. 15, pp. 219–20.

  48. 48. Ibid.

  49. 49. Ibid., bk. 3, chapt. 7, sect. 3, p. 297.

  50. 50. Ibid., bk. 3, chapt. 6, sect. 1, p. 284.

  51. 51. Ibid., bk. 3, chapt. 6, sect. 2, pp. 285–86.

  52. 52. Ibid., bk. 3, chapt. 6, sect. 3, pp. 287–88.

  53. 53. Ibid., bk. 2, chapt. 11, sect. 7, p. 179. Discussed by Nativel, “Le traité ‘Du sublime’ et la pensée esthétique anglaise,” 725. For this invocation of Longinus (who is explicitly named in Junius’s Latin edition), I also thank Wieneke Jansen, who is currently preparing an article on the reception of Longinus in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century for a forthcoming special issue of Lias.

  54. 54. Junius, Painting of the Ancients, bk. 3, chapt. 6, sect. 6, pp. 292–93.

  55. 55. Daniel Heinsius, De tragoediae constitutione liber, in quo inter caetera tota de hac Aristotelis sentential dilucide explicatur (Leiden: Ex officinâ Elsevirianâ, 1643); Gerardus Vossius, Poeticarum institutionum, libri tres (Amsterdam: Apud Ludovicum Elzevirium, 1647). See also Edith Kern, The Influence of Heinsius and Vossius upon French Dramatic Theory (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1949).

  56. 56. Mieke B. Smits-Veldt, Het Nederlandse renaissancetoneel (Utrecht: HES, 1991), 106, and Bettina Noak, “Vondel as a Dramatist: The Representation of Language and Body,” in Joost van den Vondel (1587–1679): Dutch Playwright in the Golden Age, ed. Jan Bloemendal and Frans-Willem Korsten (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012), 117–18.

  57. 57. See commentary by Jan Konst in his edition of Jan Six, Medea treurspel (Berlin: Freie Universität, 2000).

  58. 58. Joost van den Vondel, J. v. Vondels poëzy of verscheide gedichten (Amsterdam: Joost Hartgers, 1650), and Vondel, Q. Horatius Flaccus, Lierzangen en dichtkunst (Amsterdam: Luidewijck Spillebout, 1654).

  59. 59. For an alternative view, see Arie Gelderblom, “A Rejuvenating Corset: Literary Classicism in the Dutch Republic,” in Dutch Classicism in Seventeenth Century Painting, ed. Albert Blankert, (Rotterdam: Boijmans Museum; Frankfurt: Städelsches Institut, 1999), 54–61.

  60. 60. Amy Golahny, Rembrandt’s Reading (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2003), 123–25. See Deerste twaelf boecken Odysseae: Dat is, De Dolinghe van Ulysse, trans. D. Coornhert (Haarlem: Jan van Zuren, 1561; reprinted in Delft in 1593 and reissued numerous times); De tweede xii boecken Odysseae: Dat is, De Dolinge van Ulysse, trans. D. Coornhert (Amsterdam: Hendrick Barentsz, 1609); De eerste 12. boecken van de Ilyadas, trans. K. van Mander (Haarlem: Adr. Rooman, 1611); De Dooling van Ulisses in 24 boecken, trans. G. van Staveren (Amsterdam: Gerrit van Goedesberg en Klaas Fransz.; in de drukkery van Tymon Houthaak,1651); De Iliaden van Homerus, trans. J. H. Glazemaker (Amsterdam: Jan Rieuwersz, 1654–58).
    http://dx.doi.org/10.5117/9789053566091

  61. 61. The Poetics of Aristotle, trans. S. H. Butcher (London and New York: Macmillan, 1895), 31, part 8, and 83, part 23.

  62. 62. Jonathan Bikker in Rembrandt: The Late Works, 217–18, similarly interprets Aristotle’s expression as one of “divine ravishment” (enthousiasma).

  63. 63. See Christian Tümpel, “Ikonographische Beiträge zu Rembrandt (I): Zur Deutung und Interpretation seiner Historien,” Hamburg Jahrbuch 13 (1968): 95–106; and Tümpel, “Ikonographische Beiträge zu Rembrandt (II): Zur Deutung und Interpretation einzelner Werke,” Hamburg Jahrbuch 17 (1971): 20–38.

  64. 64. Many of them are depictions of the Old Testament figure Joseph, whose employment by Pharaoh does have negative implications of enslavement. See, for example, Arent de Gelder’s Benjamin’s Cup (Judah Pleading before Joseph), ca. 1680–85, The Hohenbuchau Collection.

  65. 65. The idea that Rembrandt and his contemporaries mistook such representations of Minerva for likenesses of Alexander was first proposed by Konrad Kraft, “Der behelmte Alexander der Große,” in Jahrbuch für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte 15 (1965): 7-8, and endorsed by Held, Rembrandt Studies, 31. Margaret Carroll, “Rembrandt’s Aristotle: Exemplary Beholder,” Artibus et Historiae 5, no 10 (1984): 49–50, esp. 45, argued against this, identifying the image on the medallion in the painting as Minerva and returning to the hypothesis first raised by Herbert von Einem that the chain represents the “golden chain of Homer,” a metaphor for continuity across time and between the divine and earthly. See von Einem, “Rembrandt und Homerus,” 187–89.

  66. 66. Junius, Painting of the Ancients, bk. 3, chapt. 6, sect. 7, p. 294.

  67. 67. Ibid.: “hoe onse vervrolickte herten door de helde van een verbaesde verwonderingh soetelick gevetert ende gevangen houdt.”

  68. 68. Salomon and Langdon, “Of Men and Mechanical Doves,” 28.

  69. 69. alomon and Langdon, “Of Men and Mechanical Doves,” 28

  70. 70. Pels, Gebruik, én misbruik des tooneels, 36–37: “’t Moest al gevólgd zyn, óf natuur was niet te vréên;/Ten minsten zyne, die geen régels, nóch geen réden/Van évenmaatigheid gedoogde in ‘s ménschen léden.” My translation is based largely on de Winkel, Fashion and Fancy, 195.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.5117/9789053569177

  71. 71. bid. The entire sentence reads: “Maar óch! hoe éd’ler geest, hoe meer zy zal verwiIld’ren,/Zo zy zich aan geen grond, én snoer van régels bindt,/Maar alles uit zich zélf te weeten onderwindt!” My translation is informed by that in Svetlana Alpers, Rembrandt’s Enterprise: The Studio and the Market (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 137–39n48.

  72. 72. Longinus, On the Sublime, chapt. 33, sect. 4, p. 64.

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DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2016.8.2.5
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Joanna Sheers Seidenstein, "Grace, Genius, and the Longinian Sublime in Rembrandt’s Aristotle with a Bust of Homer," Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art 8:2 (Summer 2016) DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2016.8.2.5