Art Market and Connoisseurship: A Closer Look at Paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Their Contemporaries (Amsterdam Studies in the Dutch Golden Age)
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The question of whether seventeenth-century painters such as Rembrandt and Rubens were exclusively responsible for the paintings later sold under their names has caused many a heated debate. Despite the rise of scholarship on the history of the art market, much is still unknown about the ways in which paintings were produced, assessed, priced, and marketed during this period, which leads to several provocative questions: did contemporary connoisseurs expect masters such as Rembrandt to paint works entirely by their own hand? Who was credited with the ability to assess paintings as genuine? The contributors to this engaging collection—Eric Jan Sluijter, Hans Van Miegroet, and Neil De Marchi, among them—trace these issues through the booming art market of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, arriving at fascinating and occasionally unexpected conclusions.
3902’); (44) D. Teniers; (46) Ad. Ostade (printed ‘P. de Conti 7000’); (52) G. Dow (printed ‘de Boisset 8999’); (59) C. Bega; (60) G. Van Eeckout; (63) N. Berchem; (68) L. Backuisen; (71) Fréd. Moucheron p.  suite de la quatrième vacation du Samedi 18 Mars (78) J.Steen; (86) G. Schalcken (printed on the leaﬂet ‘P. de Conti 2. 2302’); (90) Ad. Vander Werf (printed ‘de Brunoy 2.6001’) Ecole françoise (104) 2.C. Lorrain (printed ‘de Gagny 11904’); (105) Blachard; (111) J.B.Santerre; (117)
patron who owns it and the artist who makes it’. Thus, the price depends ‘mainly on the taste and wealth of the buyer, and the need of the owner [which might be the artist] to dispose of the work’.2 But these are the words of a Roman art lover. Were opinions regarding the assessing of the value of a work of art different in the Netherlands? What were the accepted seventeenth-century practices? Which roles were played by the artists themselves, by connoisseurs, art lovers or art dealers? How was
07-10-2008 16:34:03 AR T MAR KET A ND C ONNOISSEURSHIP 109 6. Peter Paul Rubens Christ carrying the Cross, 1634-37 Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels ART_MARKET.indd 109 07-10-2008 16:34:03 110 NATASJ A PE E TE R S of Medes and Persians, which cannot be altered. … I see it helps him to be unreasonable’.37 Although this passage does not refer speciﬁcally to his altarpieces, and shows how royal clients always haggled for a better deal and reacted disapprovingly when their
became very heated in France at the end of the seventeenth century. Although the disegno-colorito debate focused more on the visual characteristics of pictures than on their possible meaning. The main issue in the debate was which aspect of painting was the most important: the line as the expression of the inventions of the human mind (disegno) or the achievement by means of painting from life to create the most natural and lifelike expressiveness through the handling of paint, colour, light and
various manners of painting, printmaking and drawing, and on how to distinguish between originals and copies (Sentimens sur la Distinction des diverses manières de peinture, dessin et gravure et des orginaux d’avec leurs copies, Paris 1649). But despite his premise, he expressed his doubts about how good of a judge he thought his readers might become. He acknowledged that there were good judges of art among both painters and ‘art lovers’ (curieux). ‘[O]ne may say that in this art [of judging