Rembrandt’s Orient

West Meets East in Dutch Art of the Seventeenth Century

Neubau / 31.10.2020–14.02.2021 / Curators: Dr Bodo Brinkmann, Gary Schwartz

For someone who, for all we know, never left his native country, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn had a strikingly broad horizon. As an artist, collector, and citizen, he came into contact with artifacts, objects of utility, and humans from all parts of the known world. Rembrandt’s curiosity about everything foreign and his insatiable collector’s appetite were legendary even in his lifetime and part and parcel of his singular creative genius.

Amsterdam, the center of his life, was the perfect place for a man of such boundless interests: the Dutch East and West India Companies had their headquarters and home port here, as did other trading partnerships. In the seventeenth century, the city was a true cultural melting pot. Legates and merchants from far-flung places were a daily sight in the streets of the young Dutch Republic.

The exhibition focuses on one of the most consequential strands in this constellation: the Orient—an umbrella term for diverse Eastern non-European cultures rather than a well-defined geographic designation—fired Rembrandt’s imagination throughout his career. It inspired the painter has he envisioned the settings of biblical histories, one of his favorite genres. Several self-portraits show the artist in exotic costumes. His copies of miniatures created at the court of the Great Mughals were a tribute to Asian creativity and taste without precedent in Dutch art. Last but not least, he was an eager consumer of Japanese paper, which he liked to use for his etchings.

The selection of exhibits is not limited to Rembrandt’s oeuvre. In addition to works by his colleagues and students, the presentation includes publications and other sources that illustrate the contemporary vision of the Orient. Placing Rembrandt’s work in this broader context reveals both the ways in which his take on the East was typical of his time and what set his perspective on its cultures apart from those of his contemporaries. And there is yet another reason why Rembrandt’s Orient scrutinizes Golden-Age Dutch artists’ responses to Eastern artifacts: by contrasting their own daily surroundings with these models, they made a key contribution to the genesis and definition of the specific European identity that to this day has remained a subject of ongoing renegotiation.


Catalogue

The catalog to the exhibition "Rembrandts Orient" examines how the painters of the Dutch Golden Age reacted to the areas of the Near, Middle and Far East that came to the fore through trade, travel and publications. The foreign was a charming contrast to the own, but it hardly aroused deeper sympathy. That was in the 17th century. What is it like today? The catalog invites us to reflect on this.

Buy Catalogue

The exhibition is supported by:

  • Pierrette Schlettwein
  • Anonymous Private Person
  • Sugler Foundation
  • Novartis International AG
  • L. & Th. La Roche Foundation
  • Annetta Grisard-Schrafl
  • BLKB
  • HEIVISCH
  • Karl and Luise Nicolai-Foundation
  • Foundation for the promotion of Dutch art in Basel
  • Isaac Dreyfus Bernheim Foundation
  • Anonymous Patrons
  • Foundation fot the Kunstmuseum Basel

Events for this exhibition

Sat5Dec

Neubau
14:00–15:00

Führung in der Ausstellung "Rembrandts Orient"

Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5

Sun6Dec

Neubau
14:00–15:00

Guided tour in English "Rembrandt's orient. WEST MEETS EAST IN DUTCH ART OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY"

Costs: Entry + CHF 5

Sat12Dec

Neubau
14:00–15:00

Führung in der Ausstellung "Rembrandts Orient. WESTÖSTLICHE BEGEGNUNG IN DER NIEDERLÄNDISCHEN KUNST DES 17. JAHRHUNDERTS"

Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5

Sat19Dec

Neubau
14:00–15:00

Führung in der Ausstellung "Rembrandts Orient. WESTÖSTLICHE BEGEGNUNG IN DER NIEDERLÄNDISCHEN KUNST DES 17. JAHRHUNDERTS"

Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5

Sat26Dec

Neubau
14:00–15:00

Führung in der Ausstellung "Rembrandts Orient. WESTÖSTLICHE BEGEGNUNG IN DER NIEDERLÄNDISCHEN KUNST DES 17. JAHRHUNDERTS"

Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5

Sun27Dec

Neubau
14:00–15:00

Visite Guidée en Français "L’ORIENT DE REMBRANDT. RENCONTRE ENTRE L’OUEST ET L'EST DANS L’ART HOLLANDAIS DU 17 SIÈCLE"

Frais: Entrée + CHF 5

Sat2Jan

Neubau
14:00–15:00

Führung in der Ausstellung "Rembrandts Orient. WESTÖSTLICHE BEGEGNUNG IN DER NIEDERLÄNDISCHEN KUNST DES 17. JAHRHUNDERTS"

Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5

Sun3Jan

Hauptbau, atelier
10:00–16:00

Offenes Atelier: Neue Welt

Hier entwirfst du eine Welt, wie sie dir gefällt. Der Eintritt ist kostenlos. Ab 4 Jahren

 

Hauptbau
14:00–15:00

Guided Tour in English "Rembrandts Orient. west meets east in dutch art of the seventeenth century"

Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5

Sat16Jan

Neubau
14:00–15:00

Führung in der Ausstellung "Rembrandts Orient. WESTÖSTLICHE BEGEGNUNG IN DER NIEDERLÄNDISCHEN KUNST DES 17. JAHRHUNDERTS"

Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5

Sun24Jan

Neubau
14:00–15:00

Visite Guidée en Français "L’ORIENT DE REMBRANDT. RENCONTRE ENTRE L’OUEST ET L'EST DANS L’ART HOLLANDAIS DU 17 SIÈCLE"

Frais: Entrée + CHF 5

Sat30Jan

Neubau
14:00–15:00

Führung in der Ausstellung "Rembrandts Orient. WESTÖSTLICHE BEGEGNUNG IN DER NIEDERLÄNDISCHEN KUNST DES 17. JAHRHUNDERTS"

Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5

 

Hauptbau, atelier
14:00–16:30

Kinder–Workshop: Rembrandts Weltreise

Für Kinder von 7 bis 10 Jahren. Die Anmeldung erfolgt über tours@kunstmuseubasel.ch. Kosten: CHF 15, mit Familienpass 10 CHF

Wed3Feb

Neubau
18:30–19:30

Kuratorenführung mit Bodo Brinkmann

In der Ausstellung "Rembrandts Orient". Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5

Sat6Feb

Neubau
14:00–15:00

Führung in der Ausstellung "Rembrandts Orient. WESTÖSTLICHE BEGEGNUNG IN DER NIEDERLÄNDISCHEN KUNST DES 17. JAHRHUNDERTS"

Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5

Sun7Feb

Neubau
14:00–15:00

Guided tour in English "Rembrandt's orient. WEST MEETS EAST IN DUTCH ART OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY"

Costs: Entry + CHF 5

Wed10Feb

Neubau
18:30–19:30

Transdisziplinäre Führung in der Ausstellung "Rembrandts Orient"

Kult Status, mit einer Expert*in für Kunst und Krempel. Kosten: Eintritt + CHF

Sat13Feb

Neubau
14:00–15:00

Führung in der Ausstellung "Rembrandts Orient. WESTÖSTLICHE BEGEGNUNG IN DER NIEDERLÄNDISCHEN KUNST DES 17. JAHRHUNDERTS"

Kosten: Eintritt + CHF 5

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