Rembrandt’s Gifts: A Case Study of Actor-Network-Theory

Rembrandt van Rijn,  The 100 Guilder Print (Christ Healing the Sick), ca. 1648,

This study explores the applicability of Actor-Network-Theory, a recent paradigm of social theory, to the investigation of Rembrandt’s relations with patrons and collectors. Known by the acronym ANT, the method privileges objects as critical agents in creating, sustaining, and extending social ties and thus offers a model for capturing the dynamics underlying the interdependencies between Rembrandt, his art, his patrons, and collectors. I focus on Rembrandt’s works presented and circulated as gifts, which epitomize the short-lived assemblies between humans and objects that ANT considers the cornerstone of social activity. Drawing on ANT’s approach, I highlight the agency of these works in materializing and enhancing the reciprocal ties that bound networks of collectors and liefhebbers together with Rembrandt.

DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2011.3.2.2

Acknowledgements

Research for this study was generously supported by a Jeffrey Henderson Senior Fellowship from the Boston University Humanities Foundation and a National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Fellowship. I am grateful to my colleague Gregory Williams for introducing me to Actor-Network-Theory, to Marina Bers for discussing ANT’s scientific applications, and for the invaluable comments and suggestions made by two anonymous readers for the Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art and Alison M. Kettering. I would also like to thank Marten Jan Bok and Harm Nijboer, in whose HNA Conference session “Social Network Analysis of Art Markets and Art Worlds” I delivered a version of this paper in May 2010.

Rembrandt van Rijn,  The Blinding of Samson,  1636,
Fig. 1 Rembrandt van Rijn, The Blinding of Samson, 1636, oil on canvas, 206 x 276 cm. Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, inv. no. 1383 (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1636,
Fig. 2 Rembrandt van Rijn, The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1636, etching, 155 x 137 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-1961-1039 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  The 100 Guilder Print (Christ Healing the Sick),  ca. 1648,
Fig. 3 Rembrandt van Rijn, The 100 Guilder Print (Christ Healing the Sick), ca. 1648, etching, first state, 280 x 394 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-1962-1 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Arent de Gelder,  Portrait of a Man with Rembrandt’s Hundred Gui,
Fig. 4 Arent de Gelder, Portrait of a Man with Rembrandt’s Hundred Guilder Print, oil on canvas, 79.5 x 64.5 cm. Hermitage, Saint Petersburg, inv. no. 790 (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Christ Presented to the People, seventh state, 1655,
Fig. 5 Rembrandt van Rijn, Christ Presented to the People, 1655, drypoint, seventh state, 360 x 450 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-OB-611 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Woman at the Bath with a Hat Beside Her, second , 1658,
Fig. 6 Rembrandt van Rijn, Woman at the Bath with a Hat Beside Her, 1658, etching and drypoint, second state, 155 x 128 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-OB-261 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Arnout Tholinx, second state,  ca. 1656,
Fig. 7 Rembrandt van Rijn, Arnout Tholinx, ca. 1656, etching, drypoint, and burin, second state, 197 x 148 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-OB-577 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Christ Preaching (La Petite Tombe), only state,  ca. 1652,
Fig. 8 Rembrandt van Rijn, Christ Preaching (La Petite Tombe), ca. 1652, etching and drypoint, only state, 154 x 206 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-1962-35 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Saint Francis Beneath a Tree Praying. first stat, 1657,
Fig. 9 Rembrandt van Rijn, Saint Francis Beneath a Tree Praying, 1657, drypoint and etching, first state, 180 x 241 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-OB-171 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Jan Six, 1647,
Fig. 10 Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Six, 1647, etching, drypoint, and burin, 246 x 191 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-OB-578 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Abraham Francen,  ca. 1657,
Fig. 11 Rembrandt van Rijn, Abraham Francen, ca. 1657, etching, drypoint, and burin, 159 x 208 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-OB-531 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
  1. 1. Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 198.

  2. 2. Bruno Latour, “The Berlin Key or How to Do Words with Things,” trans. Lydia Davis, in Matter, Materiality, and Modern Culture, ed. P. M. Graves-Brown (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), 10. Cited in Bill Brown, “Thing Theory,” Critical Inquiry 28 (2001): 12.

  3. 3. Latour, Reassembling the Social, 82.

  4. 4. Ibid., 74.

  5. 5. Ibid., 70.

  6. 6. Ibid., 110–11.

  7. 7. Ibid.,  213–18.

  8. 8. Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984)

  9. 9. Latour, Reassembling the Social, 236.

  10. 10. Ibid.

  11. 11. See Antoine Hennion, “Pragmatics of Taste,” in The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Culture, ed. Mark D. Jacobs and Nancy Weiss Hanrahan (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2005), 131–44. Hennion (133–34) calls the history of art “a choice ally” and identifies three art-historical texts as important to his project: Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972); Francis Haskell, Rediscoveries in Art (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1976); and Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique: The Lure of Classical Sculpture,1500–1900 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1981). Latour repeatedly cites Hennion’s work (Latour, Reassembling the Social, 11, nn. 33, 217, and 237).

  12. 12. Alfred Gell, Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory (Oxford and New York: Clarendon Press, 1998). For a consideration of the applicability Gell’s work to case studies from the history of art, see Robin Osborne and Jeremy Tanner, eds., Art’s Agency and Art History (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007).

  13. 13. Latour, Reassembling the Social, 148. See Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau, Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large: Office for Metropolitan Architecture, ed. Jennifer Sigler (New York: Monacelli Press, 1995).

  14. 14. See Gary Schwartz,
    Rembrandt: His Life, His Paintings (New York: Viking, 1985) and Svetlana Alpers, Rembrandt’s Enterprise: The Studio and the Market (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988).

  15. 15. See, in particular, S. A. C. Dudok van Heel, “Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669): A Changing Portrait of the Artist,” in Rembrandt: The Master and His Workshop. Paintings, exh. cat., ed. Christopher Brown, Jan Kelch, and Pieter van Thiel (Gemäldegalerie SMPK at the Altes Museum, Berlin; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; and the National Gallery, London, 1991), 50–67; Paul Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy: The Artist, His Patrons, and the Art Market in Seventeenth-Century Netherlands (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006); Erik Hinterding, Rembrandt as an Etcher: The Practice of Production and Distribution, Studies in Prints and Printmaking 6,  trans. Michael Hoyle (Ouderkerk aan den Ijssel: Sound and Vision, 2006); Mariët Westermann, Rembrandt (London: Phaidon, 2000); and Michael Zell, “The Gift Between Friends: Rembrandt’s Art in the Network of His Patronal and Social Relations,” in Rethinking Rembrandt, ed. Alan Chong and Michael Zell (Zwolle: Waanders, 2002), 173–93.

  16. 16. For helpful discussions of Rembrandt’s relationships with a network of merchant connoisseurs and art dealers in the 1650s and 1660s, see Roelof van Gelder and Jaap van der Veen, “A Collector’s Cabinet in the Breestraat: Rembrandt as a Lover of Art and Curiosities,” in Rembrandt’s Treasures, exh. cat., Bob van den Boogert, et al. (Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, 1999), 64–67; and Jaap van der Veen, “The Network of Collectors Around Rembrandt,” in Rembrandt’s Treasures, 141–45.

  17. 17. On Rembrandt and gift giving, see Zell, “The Gift Between Friends.”

  18. 18. The classic study of gift exchange is Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, trans. W. D. Halls, foreword by Mary Douglas (New York and London: Routledge, 2002) (first published as Essai sur le don: Forme et raison de l’échange dans les sociétés archaïques, L’anné sociologique, n.s. 1 [Paris, 1925]). Subsequent anthropological literature on the gift is vast. Among the most influential and recent studies are: Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures of Kinship, trans. James Harle Bell and John Richard von Sturmer; ed. Rodney Needham (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969); Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1977); Pierre Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, trans. Richard Nice (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1990); Pierre Bourdieu, Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action, trans. Randall Johnson (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press,1998); Marshall Sahlins, Stone Age Economics (Chicago: Aldine-Atherton, 1972); Arjun Appadurai, ed., The Social Life of Things: Commodities in CulturalPerspective (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986); Marilyn Strathern, The Gender of the Gift: Problems with Women and Problems with Society in Melanesia (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1988); Annette Weiner, Inalienable Possessions: The Paradox of Keeping-While-Giving (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1992);James Carrier, Gifts and Commodities: Exchange and Western Capitalism Since 1700 (London and New York: Routledge, 1995); Alan Schrift, ed., The Logic of the Gift: Toward an Ethic of Generosity (New York: Routledge, 1997); Maurice Godelier, The Enigma of the Gift, trans. Nora Scott (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); and Mark Osteen, The Question of the Gift: Essays Across Disciplines (London and New York: Routledge, 2002).

  19. 19. See Natalie Zemon Davis, “Beyond the Market: Books as Gifts in Sixteenth-Century France,” Royal Historical Society Transactions 33 (1983): 69–88; Natalie Zemon Davis, The Gift in Sixteenth-Century Franc  (Madison, Wis., University of Wisconsin Press, 2000); Mario Biagioli, Galileo, Courtier: The Practice of Science in the Culture of Absolutism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983); Sharon Kettering, “Gift-Giving and Patronage in Early Modern France,” French History 2 (1988): 419–47; Sharon Kettering, Patrons, Brokers, and Clients in Seventeenth-Century France (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986); Lisa Jardine, Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance (New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1998); Antoon Vandevelde, Gifts and Interests (Louvain: Peeters, 2000); and Gadi Algazi, Valentin Groebner, and Bernhard Juseen, eds., Negotiating the Gift: Pre-Modern Figurations of Exchange (Philadelphia: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2003).

  20. 20. Irma Thoen, Strategic Affection? Gift Exchange in Seventeenth-Century Holland (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2007).

  21. 21. Geert Janssen, Princely Power in the Dutch Republic, trans. J. C. Grayson (Manchester, England, and New York: Manchester University Press, 2008), esp. 175–79.

  22. 22. For early modern art and gift giving, see, in particular, Genevieve Warwick, “Gift Exchange and Art Collecting: Padre Sebastiano Resta’s Drawing Albums,” Art Bulletin 79 (1997): 630–46; Alexander Nagel, “Gifts for Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna,” Art Bulletin 79 (1997): 647–68; Alexander Nagel, “Art as Gift: Liberal Art and Religious Reform in the Renaissance,” in Negotiating the Gift, 319–60; Richard Spear, The ‘Divine Guido’: Religion, Sex, Money and Art in the World of Guido Reni (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), esp. 211–15; and Michiel Roscam Abbing, “Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Personal Letter-Rack Paintings: Venerations with a Message,” in The Universal Art of Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627–1678), Painter, Writer, and Courtier, ed. Thijs Weststeijn (forthcoming). For an in-depth study of the importance of gift giving to the life and work of a celebrated scholar painter of early modern China, see Craig Clunas, Elegant Debts: The Social World of Wen Zhengming, 1470–1559 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2004).

  23. 23. On Seghers, see, in particular, Walter Couvreur, “Danïel Seghers’ inventaris van door hem geschilderde stukken,” Gentse bijdragen tot de kunstgeschiedenis en de oudheidkunde 20 (1967): 87–158; and Peter van der Ploeg, Carola Vermeeren, et al., Princely Patrons: The Collection of Frederik Hendrik of Orange and Amalia von Solms in The Hague, exh. cat. (Mauritshuis, The Hague, 1997), 246–49.

  24. 24. On Reni and gift exchange, see Spear, The ‘Divine Guido,’ 211–15.

  25. 25. Quoted in Spear, The ‘Divine Guido,’ p. 212. See Carlo Cesare Malvasia, The Life of Guido Reni, trans. and with an introduction by Catherine Enggass and Robert Enggass (University Park, Pa., and London: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1980), 114.

  26. 26. Eric Jan Sluijter, “Determining Value on the Art Market in the Golden Age: An Introduction,” in Art Market and Connoisseurship: A Closer Look at Paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Their Contemporaries, ed. Anna Tummers and Koenraad Jonckheere (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008), esp. 13–16. On Rembrandt’s disputes with clients, see, in particular, Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy, chapter 6, 110–35.

  27. 27. Quoted and translated in Sluijter, “Determining Value,” 15. For the documents, see Lauro Magnani, “1666: Een onbekende opdracht uit Genua voor Rembrandt,” Kroniek van het Rembrandthuis (2007): 2–17.

  28. 28. See, in particular, Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy.

  29. 29. For the letter, see Walter Strauss and Marjon van der Meulen, with the assistance of S. A. C. Dudok van Heel and P. J. M. de Baar, The Rembrandt Documents (New York: Abaris Books, 1979), doc. 1639/2.

  30. 30. See Josua Bruyn, et al., A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings, vol. 3 (The Hague, 1989), 192–94, no. A119. Schwartz, Rembrandt, 130–31 and 178, proposes Danäe, initially dated 1636 and reworked in the early 1640s, as the painting Rembrandt sent to Huygens, and which Schwartz believes was returned to the artist. The authors of A Corpus reject this suggestion, though it is reiterated in Gary Schwartz, Rembrandt’s Universe: His Art, His Life; His World (London: Thames and Hudson, 2006), 343.

  31. 31. For Huygens’s position as secretary and his role in expanding the stadtholder’s art collection, see, in particular, Peter van der Ploeg and Carola Vermeeren, “From the ‘Sea Prince’s’ Monies: The Stadhouder’s Art Collection,” in Van der Ploeg and Vermeeren, Princely Patrons, 59–60. For Huygens as an art connoisseur and collector, see Inge Broekman, De rol van de schilderkunst in het leven van Constantijn Huygens, 1596–1687 (Hilversum: Verloren, 2005).

  32. 32. On the Passion cycle and Rembrandt’s seven surviving letters to Huygens discussing payments and deliveries of the paintings, see Horst Gerson, Seven Letters by Rembrandt, trans. Yda D. Ovink (The Hague: L. J. C. Boucher, 1961).

  33. 33. Rembrandt to Huygens, January 27, 1639. See Strauss and van der Meulen, Rembrandt Documents, doc. 1639/4.

  34. 34. Rembrandt to Huygens, February 1636. See Strauss and van der Meulen, Rembrandt Documents, doc. 1636/1.

  35. 35. Rembrandt to Huygens, 1639. See Strauss and van der Meulen, Rembrandt Documents, doc. 1639/6.

  36. 36. See, in particular, Schwartz, Rembrandt, 116–17.

  37. 37. On the taboo of explicitness, see Pierre Bourdieu, Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action, trans. Randall Johnson (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1998), 96 (“The economy of symbolic goods”).

  38. 38. My characterization of the patron-client relationship in the stadtholder’s court relies on the analysis of Medici court culture in Biagioli, Galileo, Courtier, esp. 36–41, and on studies of the French court in Kettering, “Gift-Giving and Patronage,” and Kettering, Patrons, Brokers, and Clients.

  39. 39. See Biagioli, Galileo, Courtier, esp. 48.

  40. 40. Broekman, Rol van het schilderkunst, 41–42, believes that Huygens likely refused the painting. As she noted, The Blinding of Samson is not recorded in the 1785 inventory of the estate of Huygens’s great-great granddaughter Susanna Louise Huygens, nor did Huygens mention the picture in any of his writings.

  41. 41. As suggested in Bruyn, et al.,A Corpus, 3:193.

  42. 42. Jaap van der Veen, “Patronage for Lievens’ Portraits and History Pieces, 1644–1674,” in Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Reconsidered, exh. cat., Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., et al. (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Milwaukee Art Museum; and Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, 2008), 31. The quotation is from a letter Huydecoper wrote to “de heer Sandra” on September 16, 1660 (Huydecoper Family Archive, inv. no. 56). Huydecoper apparently sold the picture to the art dealer Gerrit Uylenburgh, in whose stock it was recorded in 1675. See Friso Lammertse and Jaap van der Veen, Uylenburgh and Son: Art and Commerce from Rembrandt to De Lairesse, 1625–1675, exh. cat. (Dulwich Picture Gallery, London; and Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, 2006), 298, n. 115.

  43. 43. For other details on Rembrandt’ s gift giving in his later career, see Zell, “Gift Among Friends,” 183–93.

  44. 44. Barbara Welzel first drew attention to this tradition. See Holm Bevers, Peter Schatborn, and Barbara Welzel, Rembrandt: The Master and His Workshop; Drawings & Prints, exh. cat. (Altes Museum, Berlin; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; and National Gallery, London, 1991), 244–45, cat. 27.

  45. 45. The inscription on the reverse of an impression in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, reads: “Vereering van mijn speciaele / vriend Rembrand, tegens de / Pest van M. Antony” (Traded from my special friend Rembrandt for the Plague by Marcantonio). See Cornelis Hostede de Groot, Die Urkunden über Rembrandt, 1575–1721 (The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1906), no. 266, where it is attributed to the art dealer and collector Jan Pietersz. Zomer. S. A. C. Dudok van Heel, “Jan Pietersz. Zomer (1641–1724): Makelaar in schilderijen (1690–1724),” Jaarboek Amstelodamum 69 (1977): 98, rejects the identification.

  46. 46. The inscription is transcribed in Erik Hinterding, Ger Luijten, and Martin Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, exh. cat. (British Museum, London, and Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2000), 253, cat. 61: “Rembrand amoureux d’une / Estampe de M.A. savoir la / Peste, que son ami J. Pz. Zoomer, avoir de fort belle / Impression, & ne pouvant / l’Engager à lui vendre, / Lui fit present, pour l’avoir / de Cette Estampe-ci, plus- / rares & plus Curieux Encore / que l’Estampe l’on Nome [?] / de Hondert Guldens Print, par / les Addition dans Clair obscur / qu’il y a dans Celle-ci, / don’t il n’y a eu, suivant le raport / qui m’en Ete fait, que tres peu d’Impressions, don’t / Aucune n’a jamais été vendûe / dutemps de Rembrand, mais / distribuées entre ses amis” (Rembrandt, in love with a print by Marcantonio known as the Plague, of which his friend J. Pz  Zomer had a very beautiful impression, and could not be convinced to sell it to him, made a present to have it of this print, rarer and more curious than the print one calls [?] the Hundred Guilder Print, by the additions in the chiaroscuro that are in this one, of which, according to a report made to me, there were not but very few impressions made, of which not one was ever sold in Rembrandt’s time,  but distributed among his friends.)

  47. 47. The print’s title appears to have originated in the seventeenth century. Martin Royalton-Kisch in Hinterding, Luijten, and Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, 255, cat. 61, and Hinterding, Rembrandt as an Etcher, 60–61, quote a letter written in 1654 by Jan Meyssens of Antwerp to Charles Vanden Bosch, bishop of Bruges: “Also available here [in Antwerp] is the most remarkable print by Rembrandt, in which Christ is healing the sick, and I know that it has been sold various times in Holland for 100 guilders and more; and it is as large as this sheet of paper [on which the letter is written], very fine and lovely, but ought to cost 30 guilders. It is very beautiful and pure.” For the letter, see Emile van den Bussche, “Un évéque bibliophile: Notes sur la bibliothèque et le cabinet de gravures de Charles Vanden Bosch, neuvième évèque de Bruges; ses relations avec Elzévirs, Meyssens, etc.,” La Flandre: Revue des monuments d’histoire et d’antiquites 13 (1880): 358-59.

  48. 48. Noted by Welzel in Bevers, Schatborn, and Welzel, Rembrandt: The Master and His Workshop, 245, cat. 27. On De Gelder’s painting, see Arent de Gelder (1645–1727): Rembrandts laatste leerling, exh. cat. (Dordrechts Museum, and Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, 1999), 220–23, cat. 42.

  49. 49. On The Hundred Guilder Print, see, in particular, Hinterding, Luijten, and Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, 253–58, cat. 61.

  50. 50. Ibid., 322, cat. 78. Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy, 175, n. 102, suggests that Rembrandt may have presented the print as a gift to Dirck van Kattenburgh in thanks for facilitating a financial arrangement with his brother Otto in 1655. 

  51. 51. For the inscription, see Christopher White and Karel G. Boon, Rembrandt’s Etchings: An Illustrated Critical Catalogue (Amsterdam: M. Hertzberger, 1969), 1:97, where it is suggested, implausibly, that Rembrandt presented the print to the surgeons’ guild in gratitude for allowing him access to their facilities to draw from the nude. See also Julia Lloyd Williams, et al., Rembrandt’s Women, exh. cat. (National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, and National Gallery, London, 2001), 224, cat. 128. On Rembrandt and Tholinx, see, in particular, Rembrandt the Printmaker, 329–32, cat. 82; Stephanie Dickey, Rembrandt: Portraits in Print (Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2004), 141–42; and Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy, 60. For Tholinx’s life, see D. van Tol, “Een portret van dr. Arnout Tholinx (1607–1679),” Jaarboek van het Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie en het Ikonografisch Bureau 37 (1983): 139–50. Rembrandt’s painted portrait of Tholinx is in the Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris.

  52. 52. Van Gelder and Van der Veen, “A Collector’s Cabinet in the Breestraat,” 65 and Isabella van Eeghen, “De familie de La Tombe en Rembrandt,” Oud Holland 71 (1956): 43–49. The plate may also have been commissioned by Pieter’s relative Nicolaes de La Tombe, as is suggested in Hinterding, Luijten, and Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, 281, cat. 68.

  53. 53. Hinterding, Rembrandt as an Etcher, esp. 118–24 and 144–45, and Hinterding, “Watermark Research as a Tool for the Study of Rembrandt’s Etchings,” in Hinterding, Luijten, and Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, 23–35. For additional remarks on Rembrandt’s later printmaking and exclusive circles of collectors, see Ger Luijten, “Rembrandt the Printmaker: The Shaping of an Oeuvre,” in Hinterding, Luijten, and Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, esp. 17–22.

  54. 54. Thomas Rassieur, “Looking Over Rembrandt’s Shoulder: The Printmaker at Work,” in Clifford Ackley, et al., Rembrandt’s Journey: Painter, Draftsman, Etcher, exh. cat. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Art Institute of Chicago, 2003), esp. 57–58; Luijten, “Shaping of an Oeuvre,” 21; and Hinterding, Luijten, and Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, esp. 342–43, cat. 85.

  55. 55. As Elizabeth Honig observes, Rembrandt “allows us an inappropriate view of the woman in a state of pre-aestheticized privacy.” See Elizabeth Alice Honig, “The Space of Gender in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Painting,” in Looking at Seventeenth-Century Dutch Painting: Realism Reconsidered, ed. Wayne Franits (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 192.

  56. 56. For Poussin’s cultivation of his patrons as friends, see Elizabeth Cropper and Charles Dempsey, Nicolas Poussin: Friendship and the Love of Painting (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996), 177–215.

  57. 57. On Rembrandt’s portrait prints, see, in particular, Dickey, Portraits in Print, and Rudolf E. O. Ekkart and E. Ornstein-van Slooten, Oog in oog met de modellen van Rembrandts portret-etsen (Face to Face with the Sitters of Rembrandt’s Etched Portraits), exh. cat. (Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, 1986).

  58. 58. For Rembrandt’s etched portraits of Six and Francen and his intimate relations with these collectors from very different social strata, see, in particular, Dickey, Portraits in Print, 112–19 and 142–49.

  59. 59. Ekkart, introduction in Oog in Oog, esp. 13–14.

  60. 60. Dickey, Portraits in Print, 148, notes that Francen did not have the means to own the impressive curiosity cabinet in which Rembrandt depicted him.

  61. 61. The wording of the 1655 contract reads: “een conterfeijtsel van Otto van Kattenburch, twelck de voorsz. van Rijn sal naer’t leven etsen, van deucht als het conterfeijtsel van d’Heer Jan Six” (A portrait of Otto van Kattenburgh which the aforementioned van Rijn shall etch from life, equal in quality to his portrait of Mr. Jan Six) (see Strauss and Van der Meulen, Rembrandt Documents, doc. 1655/8). For commentary on the negotiations, see, in particular, Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy, 64–65. At the time of his financial crisis, Rembrandt entered into the contract as part of his negotiation to purchase a new, less expensive house owned by Van Kattenburgh on the Handboogstraat. Rembrandt agreed to etch Van Kattenburgh’s portrait and supply other works by his own hand and from his collection as part of the payment. It is not clear why the arrangement fell through.

  62. 62. Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy, 64–65. Hinterding, Rembrandt as an Etcher, 64, concludes that the steep price likely “gives a faithful picture of the prices Rembrandt could charge for commissions of this kind in 1655.”

  63. 63. Hinterding, Rembrandt as an Etcher, 66. The idea that the Francen print was a reworking of the aborted portrait of Van Kattenbergh was first advanced by Jan Six (a descendant of Rembrandt’s patron) in “Iets over Rembrandt,” Oud Holland 11 (1893): 156, and  “Rembrandt’s voorbreiding van de etsen van Jan Six en Abraham Francen,” Onze Kunst 14 (1908): 53–65, and revived by Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy, 65–66, and 174–75, n. 102. Dickey, Portraits in Print, 148, suggests that the Francen portrait may depict Abraham Francen’s brother Daniel, a successful surgeon who loaned Rembrandt 3,150 guilders in 1656. No portrait of Daniel Francen is known, however.

Abbing, Michiel Roscam. “Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Personal Letter-Rack Paintings: Venerations with a Message.” In The Universal Art of Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627–1678), Painter, Writer, and Courtier. Edited by Thijs Weststeijn. Forthcoming.

Algazi, Gadi, Valentin Groebner, and Bernhard Juseen, eds. Negotiating the Gift: Pre-Modern Figurations of Exchange. Philadelphia: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2003.

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

Appadurai, Arjun, ed. The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Arent de Gelder (1645–1727): Rembrandts laatste leerling. Exh. cat. Dordrecht: Dordrechts Museum; and Cologne: Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, 1999.

Bevers, Holm, Peter Schatborn, and Barbara.Welzel. Rembrandt: The Master and His Workshop; Drawings & Prints. Exh. cat. Berlin: Altes Museum; Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum; and London: National Gallery, 1991.

Biagioli, Mario. Galileo, Courtier: The Practice of Science in the Culture of Absolutism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.

Bourdieu, Pierre. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Translated by Richard Nice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977.

———. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. Translated by Richard Nice. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984.

———. The Logic of Practice. Translated by Richard Nice. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press,1990.

———. Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action. Translated by Randall Johnson. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1998.

Broekman, Inge. De rol van de schilderkunst in het leven van Constantijn Huygens, 1596–1687. Hilversum: Verloren, 2005.

Brown, Bill. “Thing Theory.” Critical Inquiry 28 (2001): 1–22. doi:10.1086/449030

Bruyn, Josua, et al., A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings. Vol. 3. The Hague and Boston: M. Nijhoff Publishers, 1989.

van den Bussche, Emile. “Un évéque bibliophile. Notes sur la bibliothèque et le cabinet de gravures de Charles Vanden Bosch, neuvième évèque de Bruges; ses relations avec Elzévirs, Meyssens, etc.” La Flandre: Revue des monuments d’histoire et d’antiquites 13 (1880): 345–68.

Carrier, James. Gifts and Commodities: Exchange and Western Capitalism Since 1700. London and New York: Routledge, 1995.

Clunas, Craig. Elegant Debts: The Social World of Wen Zhengming, 1470–1559. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2004.

Couvreur, Walter. “Danïel Seghers’ inventaris van door hem geschilderde stukken.” Gentse bijdragen tot de kunstgeschiedenis en de oudheidkunde 20 (1967): 87–158.

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

Cropper, Elizabeth, and Charles Dempsey. Nicolas Poussin: Friendship and the Love of Painting. Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1996.

Davis, Natalie Zemon. “Beyond the Market: Books as Gifts in Sixteenth-Century France.” Royal Historical Society Transactions 33 (1983): 69–88. doi:10.2307/3678990

———. The Gift in Sixteenth-Century France. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000.

Dickey, Stephanie. Rembrandt: Portraits in Print. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2004.

Dudok van Heel, S. A. C. “Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669): A Changing Portrait of the Artist.” In Rembrandt: The Master and His Workshop; Paintings, Christopher Brown, Jan Kelch, and Pieter van Thiel, 50–67. Exh. cat.. Berlin: Gemäldegalerie SMPK at the Altes Museum; Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum; and London: National Gallery, 1991.

———. “Jan Pietersz. Zomer (1641–1724): Makelaar in schilderijen (1690–1724).” Jaarboek Amstelodamum 69 (1977): 89–106.

van Eeghen, Isabella. “De familie de La Tombe en Rembrandt.” Oud Holland 71 (1956): 43–49.

Ekkart, Rudolf, and E. Ornstein-van Slooten. Oog in oog met de modellen van Rembrandts portret-etsen (Face to Face with the Sitters of Rembrandt’s Etched Portraits). Exh. cat. Amsterdam: Rembrandthuis, 1986.

van Gelder, Roelof, and Jaap van der Veen. “A Collector’s Cabinet in the Breestraat: Rembrandt as a Lover of Art and Curiosities.” In Rembrandt’s Treasures, Bob van den Boogert, et al., 33–89. Exh. cat. Amsterdam: Rembrandthuis, 1999.

Gell, Alfred. Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory. Oxford and New York: Clarendon Press, 1998.

Gerson, Horst. Seven Letters by Rembrandt. Translated by Yda D. Ovink. The Hague: L. J. C. Boucher, 1961.

Godelier, Maurice. The Enigma of the Gift. Translated by Nora Scott. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Hennion, Antoine. “Pragmatics of Taste.” In The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Culture, edited by Mark D. Jacobs and Nancy Weiss Hanrahan, 131–44. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2005. doi:10.1002/9780470996744.ch9

Hinterding, Erik. Rembrandt as an Etcher: The Practice of Production and Distribution. Translated by Michael Hoyle. Studies in Prints and Printmaking 6. Ouderkerk aan den Ijssel: Sound and Vision, 2006.

Hinterding, Erik, Ger Luijten, and Martin Royalton-Kisch. Rembrandt the Printmaker. Exh. cat. London: British Museum; and Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2000.

Honig, Elizabeth Alice. “The Space of Gender in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Painting.” In Looking at Seventeenth-Century Dutch Painting: Realism Reconsidered, edited by Wayne Franits, 186–201. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. Die Urkunden über Rembrandt, 1575–1721. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1906.

Janssen, Geert. Princely Power in the Dutch Republic: Patronage and William Frederick of Nassau. Translated by J. C. Grayson. Manchester, England, and New York: Manchester University Press, 2008.

Jardine, Lisa. Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1998.

Kettering, Sharon. “Gift-Giving and Patronage in Early Modern France.” French History 2 (1988): 419–47. doi:10.1093/fh/2.2.131

———. Patrons, Brokers, and Clients in Seventeenth-Century France. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Koolhaas, Rem and Bruce Mau. Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large: Office for Metropolitan Architecture. Edited by Jennifer Sigler. New York: Monacelli Press, 1995.

Lammertse, Friso, and Jaap van der Veen. Uylenburgh and Son: Art and Commerce from Rembrandt to De Lairesse, 1625–1675. Exh. cat. London: Dulwich Picture Gallery, and Amsterdam: Rembrandthuis, 2006.

Latour, Bruno. “The Berlin Key or How to Do Words with Things.” In Matter, Materiality, and Modern Culture, edited by P. M. Graves-Brown and translated by Lydia Davis, 10–21. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

———. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude. The Elementary Structures of Kinship. Edited by Rodney Needham and translated by James Harle Bell and John Richard von Sturmer. Boston, Beacon Press, 1969.

Luijten, Ger. “Rembrandt the Printmaker: The Shaping of an Oeuvre.” In Rembrandt the Printmaker, Erik Hinterding, Ger Luijten, and Martin Royalton-Kisch, 11–22. Exh. cat. London: British Museum; and Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2000.

Magnani, Lauro. “1666: Een onbekende opdracht uit Genua voor Rembrandt.” Kroniek van het Rembrandthuis (2007): 2–17.

Malvasia, Carlo Cesare. The Life of Guido Reni. Translated and with an introduction by Catherine Enggass and Robert Enggass. University Park, Pa., and London: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1980.

Mauss, Marcel. The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. Translated by W. D. Halls, with a foreword by Mary Douglas. New York and London: Routledge, 2000.

Nagel, Alexander. “Art as Gift: Liberal Art and Religious Reform in the Renaissance.” In Negotiating the Gift: Pre-Modern Figurations of Exchange, edited by Gadi Algazi, Valentin Groebner, and Bernhard Juseen, 319–60. Philadelphia: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2003.

———. “Gifts for Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna.” Art Bulletin 79 (1997): 647–68. doi:10.2307/3046280

Osborne, Robin, and Jeremy Tanner, eds. Art’s Agency and Art History. Oxford: Blackwell, 2007.

Osteen, Mark. The Question of the Gift: Essays Across Disciplines. London and New York: Routledge, 2002.

Van der Ploeg, Peter, and Carola Vermeeren. “From the ‘Sea Prince’s’ Monies: The Stadhouder’s Art Collection.” In Princely Patrons: The Collection of Frederik Hendrik of Orange and Amalia von Solms in The Hague, Peter van der Ploeg and Carola Vermeeren, et al., 34–60. Exh. cat. The Hague: Mauritshuis, 1997.

Van der Ploeg, Peter, and Carola Vermeeren, et al. Princely Patrons: The Collection of Frederik Hendrik of Orange and Amalia von Solms in The Hague. Exh. cat. The Hague: Mauritshuis, 1997.

Rassieur, Thomas. “Looking Over Rembrandt’s Shoulder: The Printmaker at Work.” In Rembrandt’s Journey: Painter, Draftsman, Etcher, Clifford Ackley, et al., 45–60. Exh. cat. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts; and Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 2003.

Sahlins, Marshall. Stone Age Economics. Chicago: Aldine-Atherton, 1972.

Schrift, Alan, ed. The Logic of the Gift: Toward an Ethic of Generosity. New York: Routledge, 1997.

Schwartz, Gary. Rembrandt: His Life, His Paintings. New York: Viking, 1985.
———. Rembrandt’s Universe: His Art, His Life; His World. London: Thames and Hudson, 2006.

Six, Jan. “Iets over Rembrandt.” Oud Holland 11 (1893): 154–61.

–––––––. “Rembrandt’s voorbreiding van de etsen van Jan Six en Abraham Francen.” Onze Kunst 14 (1908): 53–65.

Sluijter, Eric Jan. “Determining Value on the Art Market in the Golden Age: An Introduction.” In Art Market and Connoisseurship: A Closer Look at Paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Their Contemporaries, edited by Anna Tummers and Koenraad Jonckheere, 7–28. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008.

Spear, Richard. The ‘Divine Guido’: Religion, Sex, Money and Art in the World of Guido Reni. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1997.

Strathern, Marilyn. The Gender of the Gift: Problems with Women and Problems with Society in Melanesia. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1988.

Strauss, Walter, and Marjon van der Meulen,  with the assistance of S. A. C. Dudok van Heel and P. J. M. de Baar. The Rembrandt Documents. New York: Abaris Books, 1979.

Thoen, Irma. Strategic Affection? Gift Exchange in Seventeenth-Century Holland. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2007.

van der Veen, Jaap. “The Network of Collectors Around Rembrandt.” In Rembrandt’s Treasures, Bob van den Boogert, et al., 141–45. Exh. cat. Amsterdam: Rembrandthuis, 1999.

———. “Patronage for Lievens’ Portraits and History Pieces, 1644–1674.” In Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Reconsidered, Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., et al., 30–39. Exh. cat. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art; Milwaukee: Milwaukee Art Museum; and Amsterdam: Rembrandthuis, 2008.

Vandevelde, Antoon. Gifts and Interests. Louvain: Peeters, 2000.

van Tol, D. “Een portret van dr. Arnout Tholinx (1607–1679).” Jaarboek van het Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie en het Ikonografisch Bureau 37 (1983): 139–50.

Warwick, Genevieve. “Gift Exchange and Art Collecting: Padre Sebastiano Resta’s Drawing Albums.” Art Bulletin 79 (1997): 630–46. doi:10.2307/3046279

Weiner, Annette. Inalienable Possessions: The Paradox of Keeping-While-Giving. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1992.

Westermann, Mariët. Rembrandt. London: Phaidon, 2000.

White, Christopher, and Karel G. Boon. Rembrandt’s Etchings: An Illustrated Critical Catalogue. Vol. 1. Amsterdam: M. Hertzberger, 1969.

Williams, Julia Lloyd, et al. Rembrandt’s Women. Exh. cat. Edinburgh: National Gallery of Scotland; and London: National Gallery, 2001.

Zell, Michael. “The Gift Between Friends: Rembrandt’s Art in the Network of His Patronal and Social Relations.” In Rethinking Rembrandt, edited by Alan Chong and Michael Zell, 173–93. Zwolle: Waanders, 2002.

List of Illustrations

Rembrandt van Rijn,  The Blinding of Samson,  1636,
Fig. 1 Rembrandt van Rijn, The Blinding of Samson, 1636, oil on canvas, 206 x 276 cm. Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, inv. no. 1383 (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1636,
Fig. 2 Rembrandt van Rijn, The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1636, etching, 155 x 137 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-1961-1039 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  The 100 Guilder Print (Christ Healing the Sick),  ca. 1648,
Fig. 3 Rembrandt van Rijn, The 100 Guilder Print (Christ Healing the Sick), ca. 1648, etching, first state, 280 x 394 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-1962-1 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Arent de Gelder,  Portrait of a Man with Rembrandt’s Hundred Gui,
Fig. 4 Arent de Gelder, Portrait of a Man with Rembrandt’s Hundred Guilder Print, oil on canvas, 79.5 x 64.5 cm. Hermitage, Saint Petersburg, inv. no. 790 (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Christ Presented to the People, seventh state, 1655,
Fig. 5 Rembrandt van Rijn, Christ Presented to the People, 1655, drypoint, seventh state, 360 x 450 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-OB-611 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Woman at the Bath with a Hat Beside Her, second , 1658,
Fig. 6 Rembrandt van Rijn, Woman at the Bath with a Hat Beside Her, 1658, etching and drypoint, second state, 155 x 128 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-OB-261 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Arnout Tholinx, second state,  ca. 1656,
Fig. 7 Rembrandt van Rijn, Arnout Tholinx, ca. 1656, etching, drypoint, and burin, second state, 197 x 148 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-OB-577 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Christ Preaching (La Petite Tombe), only state,  ca. 1652,
Fig. 8 Rembrandt van Rijn, Christ Preaching (La Petite Tombe), ca. 1652, etching and drypoint, only state, 154 x 206 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-1962-35 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Saint Francis Beneath a Tree Praying. first stat, 1657,
Fig. 9 Rembrandt van Rijn, Saint Francis Beneath a Tree Praying, 1657, drypoint and etching, first state, 180 x 241 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-OB-171 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Jan Six, 1647,
Fig. 10 Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Six, 1647, etching, drypoint, and burin, 246 x 191 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-OB-578 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)
Rembrandt van Rijn,  Abraham Francen,  ca. 1657,
Fig. 11 Rembrandt van Rijn, Abraham Francen, ca. 1657, etching, drypoint, and burin, 159 x 208 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-OB-531 (© Photo Rijksmuseum) (artwork in the public domain)

Footnotes

  1. 1. Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 198.

  2. 2. Bruno Latour, “The Berlin Key or How to Do Words with Things,” trans. Lydia Davis, in Matter, Materiality, and Modern Culture, ed. P. M. Graves-Brown (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), 10. Cited in Bill Brown, “Thing Theory,” Critical Inquiry 28 (2001): 12.

  3. 3. Latour, Reassembling the Social, 82.

  4. 4. Ibid., 74.

  5. 5. Ibid., 70.

  6. 6. Ibid., 110–11.

  7. 7. Ibid.,  213–18.

  8. 8. Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984)

  9. 9. Latour, Reassembling the Social, 236.

  10. 10. Ibid.

  11. 11. See Antoine Hennion, “Pragmatics of Taste,” in The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Culture, ed. Mark D. Jacobs and Nancy Weiss Hanrahan (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2005), 131–44. Hennion (133–34) calls the history of art “a choice ally” and identifies three art-historical texts as important to his project: Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972); Francis Haskell, Rediscoveries in Art (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1976); and Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique: The Lure of Classical Sculpture,1500–1900 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1981). Latour repeatedly cites Hennion’s work (Latour, Reassembling the Social, 11, nn. 33, 217, and 237).

  12. 12. Alfred Gell, Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory (Oxford and New York: Clarendon Press, 1998). For a consideration of the applicability Gell’s work to case studies from the history of art, see Robin Osborne and Jeremy Tanner, eds., Art’s Agency and Art History (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007).

  13. 13. Latour, Reassembling the Social, 148. See Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau, Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large: Office for Metropolitan Architecture, ed. Jennifer Sigler (New York: Monacelli Press, 1995).

  14. 14. See Gary Schwartz,
    Rembrandt: His Life, His Paintings (New York: Viking, 1985) and Svetlana Alpers, Rembrandt’s Enterprise: The Studio and the Market (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988).

  15. 15. See, in particular, S. A. C. Dudok van Heel, “Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669): A Changing Portrait of the Artist,” in Rembrandt: The Master and His Workshop. Paintings, exh. cat., ed. Christopher Brown, Jan Kelch, and Pieter van Thiel (Gemäldegalerie SMPK at the Altes Museum, Berlin; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; and the National Gallery, London, 1991), 50–67; Paul Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy: The Artist, His Patrons, and the Art Market in Seventeenth-Century Netherlands (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006); Erik Hinterding, Rembrandt as an Etcher: The Practice of Production and Distribution, Studies in Prints and Printmaking 6,  trans. Michael Hoyle (Ouderkerk aan den Ijssel: Sound and Vision, 2006); Mariët Westermann, Rembrandt (London: Phaidon, 2000); and Michael Zell, “The Gift Between Friends: Rembrandt’s Art in the Network of His Patronal and Social Relations,” in Rethinking Rembrandt, ed. Alan Chong and Michael Zell (Zwolle: Waanders, 2002), 173–93.

  16. 16. For helpful discussions of Rembrandt’s relationships with a network of merchant connoisseurs and art dealers in the 1650s and 1660s, see Roelof van Gelder and Jaap van der Veen, “A Collector’s Cabinet in the Breestraat: Rembrandt as a Lover of Art and Curiosities,” in Rembrandt’s Treasures, exh. cat., Bob van den Boogert, et al. (Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, 1999), 64–67; and Jaap van der Veen, “The Network of Collectors Around Rembrandt,” in Rembrandt’s Treasures, 141–45.

  17. 17. On Rembrandt and gift giving, see Zell, “The Gift Between Friends.”

  18. 18. The classic study of gift exchange is Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, trans. W. D. Halls, foreword by Mary Douglas (New York and London: Routledge, 2002) (first published as Essai sur le don: Forme et raison de l’échange dans les sociétés archaïques, L’anné sociologique, n.s. 1 [Paris, 1925]). Subsequent anthropological literature on the gift is vast. Among the most influential and recent studies are: Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures of Kinship, trans. James Harle Bell and John Richard von Sturmer; ed. Rodney Needham (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969); Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1977); Pierre Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, trans. Richard Nice (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1990); Pierre Bourdieu, Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action, trans. Randall Johnson (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press,1998); Marshall Sahlins, Stone Age Economics (Chicago: Aldine-Atherton, 1972); Arjun Appadurai, ed., The Social Life of Things: Commodities in CulturalPerspective (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986); Marilyn Strathern, The Gender of the Gift: Problems with Women and Problems with Society in Melanesia (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1988); Annette Weiner, Inalienable Possessions: The Paradox of Keeping-While-Giving (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1992);James Carrier, Gifts and Commodities: Exchange and Western Capitalism Since 1700 (London and New York: Routledge, 1995); Alan Schrift, ed., The Logic of the Gift: Toward an Ethic of Generosity (New York: Routledge, 1997); Maurice Godelier, The Enigma of the Gift, trans. Nora Scott (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); and Mark Osteen, The Question of the Gift: Essays Across Disciplines (London and New York: Routledge, 2002).

  19. 19. See Natalie Zemon Davis, “Beyond the Market: Books as Gifts in Sixteenth-Century France,” Royal Historical Society Transactions 33 (1983): 69–88; Natalie Zemon Davis, The Gift in Sixteenth-Century Franc  (Madison, Wis., University of Wisconsin Press, 2000); Mario Biagioli, Galileo, Courtier: The Practice of Science in the Culture of Absolutism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983); Sharon Kettering, “Gift-Giving and Patronage in Early Modern France,” French History 2 (1988): 419–47; Sharon Kettering, Patrons, Brokers, and Clients in Seventeenth-Century France (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986); Lisa Jardine, Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance (New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1998); Antoon Vandevelde, Gifts and Interests (Louvain: Peeters, 2000); and Gadi Algazi, Valentin Groebner, and Bernhard Juseen, eds., Negotiating the Gift: Pre-Modern Figurations of Exchange (Philadelphia: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2003).

  20. 20. Irma Thoen, Strategic Affection? Gift Exchange in Seventeenth-Century Holland (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2007).

  21. 21. Geert Janssen, Princely Power in the Dutch Republic, trans. J. C. Grayson (Manchester, England, and New York: Manchester University Press, 2008), esp. 175–79.

  22. 22. For early modern art and gift giving, see, in particular, Genevieve Warwick, “Gift Exchange and Art Collecting: Padre Sebastiano Resta’s Drawing Albums,” Art Bulletin 79 (1997): 630–46; Alexander Nagel, “Gifts for Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna,” Art Bulletin 79 (1997): 647–68; Alexander Nagel, “Art as Gift: Liberal Art and Religious Reform in the Renaissance,” in Negotiating the Gift, 319–60; Richard Spear, The ‘Divine Guido’: Religion, Sex, Money and Art in the World of Guido Reni (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), esp. 211–15; and Michiel Roscam Abbing, “Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Personal Letter-Rack Paintings: Venerations with a Message,” in The Universal Art of Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627–1678), Painter, Writer, and Courtier, ed. Thijs Weststeijn (forthcoming). For an in-depth study of the importance of gift giving to the life and work of a celebrated scholar painter of early modern China, see Craig Clunas, Elegant Debts: The Social World of Wen Zhengming, 1470–1559 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2004).

  23. 23. On Seghers, see, in particular, Walter Couvreur, “Danïel Seghers’ inventaris van door hem geschilderde stukken,” Gentse bijdragen tot de kunstgeschiedenis en de oudheidkunde 20 (1967): 87–158; and Peter van der Ploeg, Carola Vermeeren, et al., Princely Patrons: The Collection of Frederik Hendrik of Orange and Amalia von Solms in The Hague, exh. cat. (Mauritshuis, The Hague, 1997), 246–49.

  24. 24. On Reni and gift exchange, see Spear, The ‘Divine Guido,’ 211–15.

  25. 25. Quoted in Spear, The ‘Divine Guido,’ p. 212. See Carlo Cesare Malvasia, The Life of Guido Reni, trans. and with an introduction by Catherine Enggass and Robert Enggass (University Park, Pa., and London: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1980), 114.

  26. 26. Eric Jan Sluijter, “Determining Value on the Art Market in the Golden Age: An Introduction,” in Art Market and Connoisseurship: A Closer Look at Paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Their Contemporaries, ed. Anna Tummers and Koenraad Jonckheere (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008), esp. 13–16. On Rembrandt’s disputes with clients, see, in particular, Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy, chapter 6, 110–35.

  27. 27. Quoted and translated in Sluijter, “Determining Value,” 15. For the documents, see Lauro Magnani, “1666: Een onbekende opdracht uit Genua voor Rembrandt,” Kroniek van het Rembrandthuis (2007): 2–17.

  28. 28. See, in particular, Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy.

  29. 29. For the letter, see Walter Strauss and Marjon van der Meulen, with the assistance of S. A. C. Dudok van Heel and P. J. M. de Baar, The Rembrandt Documents (New York: Abaris Books, 1979), doc. 1639/2.

  30. 30. See Josua Bruyn, et al., A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings, vol. 3 (The Hague, 1989), 192–94, no. A119. Schwartz, Rembrandt, 130–31 and 178, proposes Danäe, initially dated 1636 and reworked in the early 1640s, as the painting Rembrandt sent to Huygens, and which Schwartz believes was returned to the artist. The authors of A Corpus reject this suggestion, though it is reiterated in Gary Schwartz, Rembrandt’s Universe: His Art, His Life; His World (London: Thames and Hudson, 2006), 343.

  31. 31. For Huygens’s position as secretary and his role in expanding the stadtholder’s art collection, see, in particular, Peter van der Ploeg and Carola Vermeeren, “From the ‘Sea Prince’s’ Monies: The Stadhouder’s Art Collection,” in Van der Ploeg and Vermeeren, Princely Patrons, 59–60. For Huygens as an art connoisseur and collector, see Inge Broekman, De rol van de schilderkunst in het leven van Constantijn Huygens, 1596–1687 (Hilversum: Verloren, 2005).

  32. 32. On the Passion cycle and Rembrandt’s seven surviving letters to Huygens discussing payments and deliveries of the paintings, see Horst Gerson, Seven Letters by Rembrandt, trans. Yda D. Ovink (The Hague: L. J. C. Boucher, 1961).

  33. 33. Rembrandt to Huygens, January 27, 1639. See Strauss and van der Meulen, Rembrandt Documents, doc. 1639/4.

  34. 34. Rembrandt to Huygens, February 1636. See Strauss and van der Meulen, Rembrandt Documents, doc. 1636/1.

  35. 35. Rembrandt to Huygens, 1639. See Strauss and van der Meulen, Rembrandt Documents, doc. 1639/6.

  36. 36. See, in particular, Schwartz, Rembrandt, 116–17.

  37. 37. On the taboo of explicitness, see Pierre Bourdieu, Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action, trans. Randall Johnson (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1998), 96 (“The economy of symbolic goods”).

  38. 38. My characterization of the patron-client relationship in the stadtholder’s court relies on the analysis of Medici court culture in Biagioli, Galileo, Courtier, esp. 36–41, and on studies of the French court in Kettering, “Gift-Giving and Patronage,” and Kettering, Patrons, Brokers, and Clients.

  39. 39. See Biagioli, Galileo, Courtier, esp. 48.

  40. 40. Broekman, Rol van het schilderkunst, 41–42, believes that Huygens likely refused the painting. As she noted, The Blinding of Samson is not recorded in the 1785 inventory of the estate of Huygens’s great-great granddaughter Susanna Louise Huygens, nor did Huygens mention the picture in any of his writings.

  41. 41. As suggested in Bruyn, et al.,A Corpus, 3:193.

  42. 42. Jaap van der Veen, “Patronage for Lievens’ Portraits and History Pieces, 1644–1674,” in Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Reconsidered, exh. cat., Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., et al. (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Milwaukee Art Museum; and Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, 2008), 31. The quotation is from a letter Huydecoper wrote to “de heer Sandra” on September 16, 1660 (Huydecoper Family Archive, inv. no. 56). Huydecoper apparently sold the picture to the art dealer Gerrit Uylenburgh, in whose stock it was recorded in 1675. See Friso Lammertse and Jaap van der Veen, Uylenburgh and Son: Art and Commerce from Rembrandt to De Lairesse, 1625–1675, exh. cat. (Dulwich Picture Gallery, London; and Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, 2006), 298, n. 115.

  43. 43. For other details on Rembrandt’ s gift giving in his later career, see Zell, “Gift Among Friends,” 183–93.

  44. 44. Barbara Welzel first drew attention to this tradition. See Holm Bevers, Peter Schatborn, and Barbara Welzel, Rembrandt: The Master and His Workshop; Drawings & Prints, exh. cat. (Altes Museum, Berlin; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; and National Gallery, London, 1991), 244–45, cat. 27.

  45. 45. The inscription on the reverse of an impression in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, reads: “Vereering van mijn speciaele / vriend Rembrand, tegens de / Pest van M. Antony” (Traded from my special friend Rembrandt for the Plague by Marcantonio). See Cornelis Hostede de Groot, Die Urkunden über Rembrandt, 1575–1721 (The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1906), no. 266, where it is attributed to the art dealer and collector Jan Pietersz. Zomer. S. A. C. Dudok van Heel, “Jan Pietersz. Zomer (1641–1724): Makelaar in schilderijen (1690–1724),” Jaarboek Amstelodamum 69 (1977): 98, rejects the identification.

  46. 46. The inscription is transcribed in Erik Hinterding, Ger Luijten, and Martin Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, exh. cat. (British Museum, London, and Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2000), 253, cat. 61: “Rembrand amoureux d’une / Estampe de M.A. savoir la / Peste, que son ami J. Pz. Zoomer, avoir de fort belle / Impression, & ne pouvant / l’Engager à lui vendre, / Lui fit present, pour l’avoir / de Cette Estampe-ci, plus- / rares & plus Curieux Encore / que l’Estampe l’on Nome [?] / de Hondert Guldens Print, par / les Addition dans Clair obscur / qu’il y a dans Celle-ci, / don’t il n’y a eu, suivant le raport / qui m’en Ete fait, que tres peu d’Impressions, don’t / Aucune n’a jamais été vendûe / dutemps de Rembrand, mais / distribuées entre ses amis” (Rembrandt, in love with a print by Marcantonio known as the Plague, of which his friend J. Pz  Zomer had a very beautiful impression, and could not be convinced to sell it to him, made a present to have it of this print, rarer and more curious than the print one calls [?] the Hundred Guilder Print, by the additions in the chiaroscuro that are in this one, of which, according to a report made to me, there were not but very few impressions made, of which not one was ever sold in Rembrandt’s time,  but distributed among his friends.)

  47. 47. The print’s title appears to have originated in the seventeenth century. Martin Royalton-Kisch in Hinterding, Luijten, and Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, 255, cat. 61, and Hinterding, Rembrandt as an Etcher, 60–61, quote a letter written in 1654 by Jan Meyssens of Antwerp to Charles Vanden Bosch, bishop of Bruges: “Also available here [in Antwerp] is the most remarkable print by Rembrandt, in which Christ is healing the sick, and I know that it has been sold various times in Holland for 100 guilders and more; and it is as large as this sheet of paper [on which the letter is written], very fine and lovely, but ought to cost 30 guilders. It is very beautiful and pure.” For the letter, see Emile van den Bussche, “Un évéque bibliophile: Notes sur la bibliothèque et le cabinet de gravures de Charles Vanden Bosch, neuvième évèque de Bruges; ses relations avec Elzévirs, Meyssens, etc.,” La Flandre: Revue des monuments d’histoire et d’antiquites 13 (1880): 358-59.

  48. 48. Noted by Welzel in Bevers, Schatborn, and Welzel, Rembrandt: The Master and His Workshop, 245, cat. 27. On De Gelder’s painting, see Arent de Gelder (1645–1727): Rembrandts laatste leerling, exh. cat. (Dordrechts Museum, and Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, 1999), 220–23, cat. 42.

  49. 49. On The Hundred Guilder Print, see, in particular, Hinterding, Luijten, and Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, 253–58, cat. 61.

  50. 50. Ibid., 322, cat. 78. Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy, 175, n. 102, suggests that Rembrandt may have presented the print as a gift to Dirck van Kattenburgh in thanks for facilitating a financial arrangement with his brother Otto in 1655. 

  51. 51. For the inscription, see Christopher White and Karel G. Boon, Rembrandt’s Etchings: An Illustrated Critical Catalogue (Amsterdam: M. Hertzberger, 1969), 1:97, where it is suggested, implausibly, that Rembrandt presented the print to the surgeons’ guild in gratitude for allowing him access to their facilities to draw from the nude. See also Julia Lloyd Williams, et al., Rembrandt’s Women, exh. cat. (National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, and National Gallery, London, 2001), 224, cat. 128. On Rembrandt and Tholinx, see, in particular, Rembrandt the Printmaker, 329–32, cat. 82; Stephanie Dickey, Rembrandt: Portraits in Print (Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2004), 141–42; and Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy, 60. For Tholinx’s life, see D. van Tol, “Een portret van dr. Arnout Tholinx (1607–1679),” Jaarboek van het Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie en het Ikonografisch Bureau 37 (1983): 139–50. Rembrandt’s painted portrait of Tholinx is in the Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris.

  52. 52. Van Gelder and Van der Veen, “A Collector’s Cabinet in the Breestraat,” 65 and Isabella van Eeghen, “De familie de La Tombe en Rembrandt,” Oud Holland 71 (1956): 43–49. The plate may also have been commissioned by Pieter’s relative Nicolaes de La Tombe, as is suggested in Hinterding, Luijten, and Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, 281, cat. 68.

  53. 53. Hinterding, Rembrandt as an Etcher, esp. 118–24 and 144–45, and Hinterding, “Watermark Research as a Tool for the Study of Rembrandt’s Etchings,” in Hinterding, Luijten, and Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, 23–35. For additional remarks on Rembrandt’s later printmaking and exclusive circles of collectors, see Ger Luijten, “Rembrandt the Printmaker: The Shaping of an Oeuvre,” in Hinterding, Luijten, and Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, esp. 17–22.

  54. 54. Thomas Rassieur, “Looking Over Rembrandt’s Shoulder: The Printmaker at Work,” in Clifford Ackley, et al., Rembrandt’s Journey: Painter, Draftsman, Etcher, exh. cat. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Art Institute of Chicago, 2003), esp. 57–58; Luijten, “Shaping of an Oeuvre,” 21; and Hinterding, Luijten, and Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, esp. 342–43, cat. 85.

  55. 55. As Elizabeth Honig observes, Rembrandt “allows us an inappropriate view of the woman in a state of pre-aestheticized privacy.” See Elizabeth Alice Honig, “The Space of Gender in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Painting,” in Looking at Seventeenth-Century Dutch Painting: Realism Reconsidered, ed. Wayne Franits (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 192.

  56. 56. For Poussin’s cultivation of his patrons as friends, see Elizabeth Cropper and Charles Dempsey, Nicolas Poussin: Friendship and the Love of Painting (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996), 177–215.

  57. 57. On Rembrandt’s portrait prints, see, in particular, Dickey, Portraits in Print, and Rudolf E. O. Ekkart and E. Ornstein-van Slooten, Oog in oog met de modellen van Rembrandts portret-etsen (Face to Face with the Sitters of Rembrandt’s Etched Portraits), exh. cat. (Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, 1986).

  58. 58. For Rembrandt’s etched portraits of Six and Francen and his intimate relations with these collectors from very different social strata, see, in particular, Dickey, Portraits in Print, 112–19 and 142–49.

  59. 59. Ekkart, introduction in Oog in Oog, esp. 13–14.

  60. 60. Dickey, Portraits in Print, 148, notes that Francen did not have the means to own the impressive curiosity cabinet in which Rembrandt depicted him.

  61. 61. The wording of the 1655 contract reads: “een conterfeijtsel van Otto van Kattenburch, twelck de voorsz. van Rijn sal naer’t leven etsen, van deucht als het conterfeijtsel van d’Heer Jan Six” (A portrait of Otto van Kattenburgh which the aforementioned van Rijn shall etch from life, equal in quality to his portrait of Mr. Jan Six) (see Strauss and Van der Meulen, Rembrandt Documents, doc. 1655/8). For commentary on the negotiations, see, in particular, Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy, 64–65. At the time of his financial crisis, Rembrandt entered into the contract as part of his negotiation to purchase a new, less expensive house owned by Van Kattenburgh on the Handboogstraat. Rembrandt agreed to etch Van Kattenburgh’s portrait and supply other works by his own hand and from his collection as part of the payment. It is not clear why the arrangement fell through.

  62. 62. Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy, 64–65. Hinterding, Rembrandt as an Etcher, 64, concludes that the steep price likely “gives a faithful picture of the prices Rembrandt could charge for commissions of this kind in 1655.”

  63. 63. Hinterding, Rembrandt as an Etcher, 66. The idea that the Francen print was a reworking of the aborted portrait of Van Kattenbergh was first advanced by Jan Six (a descendant of Rembrandt’s patron) in “Iets over Rembrandt,” Oud Holland 11 (1893): 156, and  “Rembrandt’s voorbreiding van de etsen van Jan Six en Abraham Francen,” Onze Kunst 14 (1908): 53–65, and revived by Crenshaw, Rembrandt’s Bankruptcy, 65–66, and 174–75, n. 102. Dickey, Portraits in Print, 148, suggests that the Francen portrait may depict Abraham Francen’s brother Daniel, a successful surgeon who loaned Rembrandt 3,150 guilders in 1656. No portrait of Daniel Francen is known, however.

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DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2011.3.2.2
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Michael Zell, "Rembrandt’s Gifts: A Case Study of Actor-Network-Theory," Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art 3:2 (Summer 2011) DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2011.3.2.2