Author: Simon McNamara
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Rembrandt s Passion Series is the name given to five paintings of similar size and format executed over a six year time-frame, 1633 39. The works were commissioned by Frederick Hendrick, Prince of Orange and Stadtholder of the United Provinces, for his gallery at The Hague. Although each of the paintings depicts a traditional scene from the Passion of Christ, they do not form anything like a complete Passion Cycle. Seven years later, Hendrick ordered a further two works of the same size and format of subjects from the Nativity of Christ. Six of the seven paintings now hang in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich. As the works were executed between Rembrandt s well-documented early Leiden period and his rapid rise to prominence as a portraitist in Amsterdam, the works have not attracted the scholarly attention they might, although the commission was undoubtedly the most prestigious of the young Rembrandt s career. Rembrandt s Passion Series is the first monograph to focus solely on this important group of paintings by the most famous artist of the Dutch Golden Age. In it, Simon McNamara traces the history of the commission by way of extant documentation, places the works in a seventeenth-century Dutch religious milieu, and shows how the series is both reflective of contemporary theological exegesis and embedded in theoretical artistic debates of the age. The book also highlights the extraordinary nature of the self-images seen in three of the paintings and discusses the legacy of the series in later graphic works by Rembrandt and in paintings by his pupils. In doing so, Rembrandt s Passion Series presents a series of unifying factors, both stylistically and thematically, for the works that allows the Passion Series to be properly, and finally, called a series ."