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Please review and rate my essay

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Joined: 28 Apr 2018
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New post 29 Apr 2018, 08:27
The reading material:
Rembrandt is the most famous of the seventeenth-century Dutch painters. However, there are doubts whether some paintings attributed to Rembrandt were actually painted by him. One such painting is known as attributed to Rembrandt because of its style, and indeed the representation of the woman’s face is very much like that of portraits known to be by Rembrandt. But there are problems with the painting that suggest it could not be a work by Rembrandt.
First, there is something inconsistent about the way the woman in the portrait is dressed. She is wearing a white linen cap of a kind that only servants would wear-yet the coat she is wearing has a luxurious fur collar that no servant could afford. Rembrandt, who was known for his attention to the details of his subjects’ clothing, would not have been guilty of such an inconsistency.
Second, Rembrandt was a master of painting light and shadow, but in this painting these elements do not fit together. The face appears to be illuminated by light reflected onto it from below. But below the face is the dark fur collar, which would absorb light rather than reflect it. So the face should appear partially in shadow-which is not how it appears. Rembrandt would never have made such an error.
Finally, examination of the back of the painting reveals that it was painted on a panel made of several pieces of wood glued together. Although Rembrandt often painted on wood panels, no painting known to be by Rembrandt uses a panel glued together in this way from several pieces of wood.

The listening material:
Everything you just read about “Portrait of an Elderly Woman in a White Bonnet” is true, and yet after a thorough re-examination of the painting, a panel of experts has recently concluded that it’s indeed a work by Rembrandt. Here is why.
First, the fur collar. X-rays and analysis of the pigments in the paint have shown that the fur collar wasn’t part of the original painting. The fur collar was painted over the top of the original painting about a hundred years after the painting was made. Why? Someone probably wanted to increase the value of the painting by making it look like a formal portrait of an aristocratic lady.
Second, the supposed error with light and shadow. Once the paint of the added fur color was removed, the original painting could be seen. In the original painting, the woman is wearing a simple collar of light-colored cloth. The light-colored cloth of this collar reflects light that illuminated part of the woman’s face. That’s why the face is not in partial shadow. So in the original painting, light and shadow are very realistic and just what we could expect from Rembrandt.
Finally, the wood panel. It turns out that when the fur collar was added, the wood panel was also enlarged with extra wood pieces glued to the sides and the top to make the painting more grand and more valuable. So the original painting is actually painted on a single piece of wood, as would be expected from a Rembrandt painting. And in fact, researchers have found that the piece of wood in the original form of “Portrait of an Elderly Woman in a White Bonnet” is from the very same tree as the wood panel used for another painting by Rembrandt, his “Self-portrait with a Hat”.

My essay:
The reading and the lecture both talk about the works of a famous 17th century Dutch painter, Remembrandt. Although he was widely acknowledged for his accurate portrayal of a person, the author questions if some of his work is actually made by him or not. His “Portrait of an Elderly Woman In a White Bonnet” is analyzed here. The lecturer talks about more recent studies done on this painting and gives strong counterpoints stating that the painting was actually a work of Remembrandt unlike previously believed.
First of all, the author points out that the lady is inconsistently dressed in the portrait. The author elaborates by saying that she is wearing a white linen cap associated with servants while wearing a coat made with luxurious fur not affordable by any servant at that time, a detail not to be missed by the famous painter.The lecturer clarifies based on the X-ray and analysis done that in the original painting, there was no fur on the coat, rather, the fur was added a 1oo years later after the painting to make it more valuable.
Secondly, the author claims that Remembrandt was known as a master for painting light and shadows and the painting in question explicitly misses that since the lady’s face is illuminated and should have been shadowed because of the presence of the thick fur. The lecturer defies this point stating that in the original painting, the lady had a simple collar which helps in illuminating her face rather than shadowing it.
Finally, the author brings into observation that painting was made on glued wooden panels stuck together which wasn’t really unheard of, but Remembrandt used a single panel rather than using a glued one, which further casts a doubt on the authenticity of the painting. The lecturer here makes strong argument that in the original painting there was a single wooden panel used, which was surprisingly made from the same tree used by Remembrandt for painting one of his self-portraits . She supports this further by saying that the wooden panels were added to increase the worth of the painting years later than the original one.
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Please review and rate my essay   [#permalink] 29 Apr 2018, 08:27
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