Selfaanbieding: Rembrandt en die gebroke-kosmiese tradisie

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Joubert, Jeanne Annette Jacqueline
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University of the Free State
English: This research ensued from a prior thesis — Artist's portrait and self-portrait: the art historical traces of artistic self-presentation (M.A. University of he Free State, 1992) — and was supplemented by a growing interest in Rembrandt van Rijn’s self-presentations and the possible role of the troubled cosmic tradition therein. The four paintings by Rembrandt that were chosen as core illustrations for the research — The elevation of the Cross (ca.1636), Self-portrait with Saskia (ca.1635), Self-portrait as St Paul (1663) and Bathsheba (1654) — are exceptional examples of self-presentation and depict profound human brokenness (or troubledness) to which the artist relates very personally. In The elevation of the Cross Rembrandt sets himself within the central event in the history of salvation, in intimate proximity of the crucified Christ. In Chapters 3 and 5 the central visual examples focus on intimate relationships with women in the painter's life, set within Biblical context. In Chapter 4 the visual centre is a self-portrait as the apostle Paul, one of the key figures in the New Testament. The Scriptural passages on which the paintings are based indicate that God is not “dead” and that healing remains a reality, particularly in the troubled world in which we live. The introductory chapter explores the field of study. The second chapter deals with the manner in which radical brokenness embodies the troubled human spirit by means of chiasmic mobility — from Rembrandt's Crucifixion Scenes (1631-39) to Jane Alexander’s The sacrifices of God are a troubled spirit (2002-2004). The dynamics of the troubled cosmic tradition are highlighted with reference to various perchronic relationships, transmission by conversion and maturation, the possibilities of typiconic enrichment through different traditions and the extension through dialogue between different traditions. In Self-portrait with Saskia the focus will be on human imperfection: the inappropriateness of the theme of the Prodigal Son as marriage portrait, of Saskia’s position in the painting, of the laughing face of the artist and of the back view of the two figures. The apostrophic turning of both figures towards the viewer may stimulate a radical chiasmic shift both in the painting and in the mind of the observer. The implied/external artist, as well as the implied/external viewer, play constituent roles to realise the suggested inversion. Rembrandt's approach to the inversion of radical affliction is typiconically contrasted with Francis Bacon’s escapism through mystic motivations. When Rembrandt depicts himself as the apostle Paul he may allude to Paul’s dim/dark mirror, which implies brokenness. This chapter explores the problems that arise and persist when, during the Romantic Period, Rembrandt is characterised as a gifted, suffering hero based on the view of artistic calling in the nineteenth century. In keeping with the Letters of St Paul, human vulnerability is rather chiasmically embodied in Rembrandt’s Coram Dei approach together with the suggestion of family ties and a continual shift between sin and grace in self-representation. The painting of Bathsheba (1654) seems to fall outside the theme of self-presentation. However, I wish to demonstrate that even in the case of imaginary human absence the external painter may be present implicitly, in which case biographical information could be meaningful in the interpretation of the painting. The human focus of a troubled cosmic hypothesis is particularly actualised by a naer't leven consciousness and a person-to-person relationship, which is sustained mainly by the dynamic of a God-man relationship Self-depiction may expose the subjectivity of the artist. Post-modern debates present the possibility of returning chiasmically to themes and approaches that have apparently lost their applicability today. Interpretation by means of a troubled cosmic reference could be used to apply such approaches in a new way, with different aims, to offer a regenerated vision of art historiography and of being an artist.
Afrikaans: Hierdie ondersoek het voortgevloei uit 'n voorafgaande verhandeling — Kunstenaarsportret en selfportret: kunshistoriese spore van artistieke selfpresensie (M.A. Universiteit van die Vrystaat, 1992) — aangevul deur 'n groeiende belangstelling in Rembrandt van Rijn se self-aanbiedings en die moontlike rol wat die gebroke-kosmiese tradisie daarin kan speel. Die vier skilderye van Rembrandt van Rijn wat ek as kernvoorbeelde kies vir hierdie ondersoek — Die Kruisopriging (c. 1636) en Die Kruisafneming (c. 1633), Selfportret saam met Saskia (ca.1635), Selfportret as Paulus (1663) en Batseba (1654) — is uitsonderlike voorbeelde van selfaanbieding. In Die Kruisoprigting (c. 1636) en Die Kruisafneming (c. 1633) stel Rembrandt homself voor by die mees sentrale gebeurtenis in die Christelike heilsgeskiedenis: 'n assistentselfportret in intieme nabyheid van die gekruisigde Christus. By Hoofstukke 3 en 5 fokus die sentrale visuele voorbeelde op intieme verhoudings met vroue in die skilder se lewe, voorgestel binne Bybelverhale. Die vierde hoofstuk het as visuele sentrum 'n selfportret in die rol van die apostel Paulus, een van die sleutelfigure in die Nuwe Testament. Hierdie vier skilderye betrek elkeen diepgaande menslike gebrokenheid wat die skilder self direk impliseer. Die Bybelgedeeltes waaruit hulle voortvloei, toon dat God nie "dood" is nie en dat heling 'n lewende werklikheid bly, juis in ons gebroke wêreld. Die inleidende hoofstuk bied 'n verkenning van die terrein van die studieveld. Die tweede hoofstuk fokus op die manier waarop radikale gebrokenheid die menslike "troubled spirit" deur chiasmiese beweeglikheid vergestalt — vanaf Rembrandt van Rijn se Kruisigingstonele (1631-39) tot Jane Alexander se The sacrifices of God are a troubled spirit (2002-2004). Die dinamiek van die gebroke-kosmiese tradisie word uitgelig aan die hand van verskillende perkroniese verwantskappe (of tipikoniese tradisiegenote), oordraagbaarheid deur bekering en ryping, tipikoniese verryking uit meerdere tradisies en uitbreiding deur dialoog tussen verskillende tradisies. Menslike onvolkomenheid in self-aanbieding is die vertrekpunt in Hoofstuk 3. Die fokus val op die Selfportret saam met Saskia (ca.1636), die onvanpastheid van die tema van die parabel van die verlore seun as huweliksportret, Saskia se posisie hierin, die laggende gelaat van die skilder en die rugfigure van die paar. .Die apostrofiese wending van beide figure tot die betragter kan terselfdertyd radikale en chiasmiese verskuiwings in die skildery en die denke van die betragter vorm. Hierin speel die implisiete/eksterne skilder en implisiete/eksterne betragter konstituerende rolle om die gesuggereerde omkerings te aktualiseer. Rembrandt van Rijn se benadering van verskuiwings in intense gebrokenheid word onder andere tipikonies gekontrasteer met Francis Bacon se ontvlugtende mistieke motiverings. Wanneer Rembrandt van Rijn homself aanbied as die apostel Paulus in 'n selfuitbeelding (1663), kan dit sinspeel op Paulus se troebel spieël wat gebrokenheid impliseer. Hierdie hoofstuk ondersoek die interpretasie-probleme wat ontstaan en voortleef wanneer Rembrandt gedurende die Romantiek as geniale, lydende held getipeer word, na aanleiding van die negentiende-eeuse siening van kunstenaarskap. In teenstelling hiermee vind verwondbare menslikheid eerder vergestalting in Rembrandt se coram dei-benadering. Dit sluit aan by Paulus se briewe en suggesties van familiebindings en 'n durende wending tussen sonde en genade in self-aanbieding. Die skildery van Batseba (1654) val oënskynlik buite die tema van self-aanbieding. Hier wil ek toon dat selfs in imaginêre menslike afwesigheid die eksterne skilder implisiete teenwoordigheid kan vind, wat biografiese gegewens sinvol toepaslik kan maak. Die mensgerigtheid van 'n gebroke-kosmiese hipotese word veral gerealiseer deur 'n naer 't leven-bewussyn en 'n mens-tot-mens verhouding wat hoofsaaklik in stand gehou word in die dinamiek van die God-mens verhouding. Selfpresentasie wat die basis van die werk vorm, kan die subjektiwiteit van die kunstenaar op die voorgrond stel. Postmoderne debatte bied die moontlikheid om chiasmies terug te keer na temas en benaderings wat skynbaar hul toepaslikheid verloor het. Interpretasie deur 'n gebroke-kosmiese verband kan juis dergelike benaderings op nuwe maniere en met ander mikpunte gebruik sodat dit 'n nuwe blik op kunstenaarskap en die kunsgeskiedenis kan bring.
Troubled cosmic typiconic tradition, Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-representation, Spectator, Chiasm, Turning, Relationships, Touch, Viewpoint, Bible, Francis Bacon, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn,1606-1669 -- Self portraits, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn,1606-1669 -- Criticism and interpretation, Portrait painting -- Netherlands, Thesis (Ph.D. (History of Art))--University of the Free State, 2009