Rembrandt Exhibit Visiting Central Florida

Members of the museum get in free, visitors pay regular admission. The exhibit will be in the Edith Marie Gallery of Appleton Museum.

By Taylor Foland

Ocala’s Appleton Museum of Art is hosting an upcoming exhibit showcasing the iconic work of Rembrandt. The exhibit called: “Rembrandt and the Jews: The Berger Print Collection” will be on display from January 20th, 2018, to March 18th, 2018. The exhibit is to honor International Holocaust Awareness Day, which falls on January 27th, which was also the day Auschwitz was liberated.

The exhibit is being organized by Westmont-Ridley-Tree Museum of Art in Santa Barbara, California. The Berger family donated these etchings to the Westmont-Ridley-Tree Museum, and they will be in Central Florida for public viewing. This exhibit features a collection of 22 “etchings” by the Dutch artist, that captures the life of the Jewish community in Rembrandt’s Amsterdam neighborhood. Rembrandt frequently sought to capture the life of the Jewish community, and his fondness for the Jews was well-known.

Rembrandt is known for his stellar use of expression, and light. The Dutch were obviously deeply religious people back in the 1600s, however, Rembrandt broke with artistic standards. Rembrandt painted orthodox biblical scenes rather differently than Renaissance artists like Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. Rembrandt introduced more character and expression into his subjects. More expression is palpable in his work, especially in the facial expressions.

Rembrandt painted biblical scenes such as Belshazzar’s Feast (1635) which established Rembrandt as a major baroque period artist, The Blinding of Sampson (1636), and The Descent from the Cross (1634). The depth of Rembrandt’s work is evident also, his use of light is fascinating. Rembrandt was far ahead of his time, the use of texture in his work is brilliant. Rembrandt’s work is best characterized by his use of shadow techniques, use of contrast, and dramatic body language.

These specific pieces for display are etchings of Jews around Amsterdam, the home of Rembrandt and Anne Frank. Amsterdam in the 17th century was famous for the tulip, but it was also a hot-spot for baroque culture and art.

According to Appleton Museum Curator, Patricia Tomlinson the etchings “explore the relationship between Rembrandt and the Jewish residents of Amsterdam, during this time period, a lot of Jews fled the Spanish Inquisition and settled in Amsterdam, where they came in contact with Rembrandt. He became friends with a great number of them, they posed as models for him, and he also consulted Jewish theologians as to how to accurately portray some of the Old Testament scenes in his artwork.”

Curator Tomlinson adds that the exhibit is “a way to really look at Rembrandt’s line. I mean, one of the things that make him so extraordinary, is his use of line, and nothing can show you that more effectively than etchings. Because it’s literally line drawings, you can see exactly what he was doing, and you can understand his hatching and cross-hatching, and the real genius how he makes the two-dimensional look three-dimensional.”

Etching refers to the artistic technique of using lines to form one big picture. With etchings, you get a sense of how the artist forms their picture, and it gives you a measure to see the talent of the artist. Specifically, with Rembrandt, you can really see the thought process with his use of lines, rather than a painting, where you couldn’t judge that technique on canvas.

Curator Tomlinson stressed the importance of International Holocaust Awareness Day and the liberation of Auschwitz, in coordination with this Rembrandt exhibit in Ocala.

Members of the museum get in free, visitors pay regular admission. The exhibit will be in the Edith Marie Gallery of Appleton Museum. There will be a representative from College of Central Florida there explaining Rembrandt’s work to the public.

For further information, Curator Tomlinson encourages people to go to for updates on the event.

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Taylor Foland is a Volunteer Coordinator for ACT For America, the nation’s largest grassroots national security group. ACT has over 750,000 members and 1,000 allied volunteers groups across America.