LOTTLISA BEHLING Rembrandt's so-called 'Dr. Faustus', Johann Baptista Portas Magia naturalis and Jacob Böhme

LOTTLISA BEHLING Rembrandt's so-called 'Dr. Faustus', Johann Baptista Portas Magia naturalis and... 77 artigen Versuch besagen, Rembrandts Schopfung gicichsam mit neuen Augen zu sehen, in der ein Hauptanliegen Rem- brandts, der Kampf zwischen der lichten und dunklen Welt, sein Hell-Dunkel, einen neuen eigenartigen Ausdruck findet, den de Bruin so interpretierte: 'Zien we nu de ets als geheel. De ets stelt blijkbaar voor de strijd tussen licht en donker, de worsteling tussen het kwade en het goede, tussen het woord en het zwaard, de strijd tussen de Satan en de christe- lijke geloofsleer'. In ilbertragenem Sinne mag man diese Deutung wohl gelten lassen. LOTTLISA BEHLING Rembrandt's so-called 'Dr. Faustus', Johann Baptista Portas Magia naturalis and Jacob Böhme The attempts to interpret Rembrandt's cryptical etching B. 270, tlze so-called Dr. Faustus, which has tempted scholars since the days of Cersairtt, Yver and Bartsch, seem to lzave entered into a new phase. Despite the sceptical attitude of Ludwig Münz (A Critical Catalogue of Rejnbrandt's Etchings, London 1952, II, No. 275) regarding some solutions for the inscription, it is especially in this sector that new results were obtained by Rotermund, O. H. Lelamann and, most recently, by T. L. de Bruin (cf. notes 39, 40 and the appendix). It seems however necessary not only to reassess the prob- lem of the inscription but the concept of the entire etching as well. The author acknowledges her indebtedness to two contri- butions which broke new grounds: Wolfgang Wegner, die Faustdarstellungen vom 16. Jahrhundert bis zur Cegenwart, (Amsterdam 1962), and Hans Kauffiynann, die Fünfsinne in tler niederländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrlrunderts, in Kunst- gc?schichtliche Studien, ed. Hans Tintelnot, Breslau 1943 (= Festschrift Dagobert Frey). The interpretation of several passages in J. B. Porta's Magia Naturalis (ed. princeps 1644), whose frontispiece was correctly recognized by Wegner as a compositional prototype of Rembrandt's etclaing, leads to some fundamental distinc- tions : 1. The Porta frontispiece represents a scientific experi- ment of light refractions. Rembrandt however depicts a 'numi- nous' process. His philosoplaer is lost in contemplation, in about the sense in which the highest grade of mystic experience is defined by Alfons Ro.senberg (cf. note 27) and derived from contemplare = to belzold, to observe, which does not mean an ordinary and normal observation, but the inner vision of the Deity irt its place, tlte templum'. Therefore the manifestation of Light in the Faustus etching has another meaning than tlze Sun in representations of Sight t during the ]6th and ]7th centuries. It is a 'spiritual' Sun, and the mirror which is brought close to the surt is curiously trans- parent and unreal in the sense of incorporeal, immaterial. 2. The conception of Magic in natural sciences of the 16tfi century as exemplifzed by Porta is fundanterttally differ- ent frorrt that of Rembrandt. His scholar is a Magician akin to the Sage and Prophet of the Old Testament, and related to the Dreamreader and Astrologer which Rembrandt already de- picted ill the 1630ies, and whose visions are taken up again in tlze illustrations for Manasse ben Israel's Piedra Gloriosa (The Vision of Daniel B.36b) of 1655. 3. Kauffmann his paper on the Five Senses) and Boja- nowski (1938) have pointed out that the mirror on the etching is an attribute of Revelation. Irz the presettt paper this religion and philosophical topos is being traced frofrt Antiquity till the Baroque Age. 4. The idea of the mirror of God, of God's mirroring eye, connects the Rembrartdt etching with remarks by Jakob Bohme, in whose powerful language Rembrandt's pictorial world, the clair-ob.scur of his rooms and creatures, tlte Divine world of Light and the Shadow of Darkness were boldly anti- cipated. The frontispiece of B6;hiiie's collected works may equally be cortnected with Rembrandt's rendering of Light irt the etching. 5. As for the interpretation of the mirror in the Faustus- etching, a practically unknown portrait of B6hme surrounded by allegoric landscapes (Kunstsammlungen, Veste Coburg) furnishes several important clues. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Oud Holland - Quarterly for Dutch Art History Brill

LOTTLISA BEHLING Rembrandt's so-called 'Dr. Faustus', Johann Baptista Portas Magia naturalis and Jacob Böhme

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Brill
Copyright
© 1964 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0030-672x
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1875-0176
D.O.I.
10.1163/187501764X00074
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Abstract

77 artigen Versuch besagen, Rembrandts Schopfung gicichsam mit neuen Augen zu sehen, in der ein Hauptanliegen Rem- brandts, der Kampf zwischen der lichten und dunklen Welt, sein Hell-Dunkel, einen neuen eigenartigen Ausdruck findet, den de Bruin so interpretierte: 'Zien we nu de ets als geheel. De ets stelt blijkbaar voor de strijd tussen licht en donker, de worsteling tussen het kwade en het goede, tussen het woord en het zwaard, de strijd tussen de Satan en de christe- lijke geloofsleer'. In ilbertragenem Sinne mag man diese Deutung wohl gelten lassen. LOTTLISA BEHLING Rembrandt's so-called 'Dr. Faustus', Johann Baptista Portas Magia naturalis and Jacob Böhme The attempts to interpret Rembrandt's cryptical etching B. 270, tlze so-called Dr. Faustus, which has tempted scholars since the days of Cersairtt, Yver and Bartsch, seem to lzave entered into a new phase. Despite the sceptical attitude of Ludwig Münz (A Critical Catalogue of Rejnbrandt's Etchings, London 1952, II, No. 275) regarding some solutions for the inscription, it is especially in this sector that new results were obtained by Rotermund, O. H. Lelamann and, most recently, by T. L. de Bruin (cf. notes 39, 40 and the appendix). It seems however necessary not only to reassess the prob- lem of the inscription but the concept of the entire etching as well. The author acknowledges her indebtedness to two contri- butions which broke new grounds: Wolfgang Wegner, die Faustdarstellungen vom 16. Jahrhundert bis zur Cegenwart, (Amsterdam 1962), and Hans Kauffiynann, die Fünfsinne in tler niederländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrlrunderts, in Kunst- gc?schichtliche Studien, ed. Hans Tintelnot, Breslau 1943 (= Festschrift Dagobert Frey). The interpretation of several passages in J. B. Porta's Magia Naturalis (ed. princeps 1644), whose frontispiece was correctly recognized by Wegner as a compositional prototype of Rembrandt's etclaing, leads to some fundamental distinc- tions : 1. The Porta frontispiece represents a scientific experi- ment of light refractions. Rembrandt however depicts a 'numi- nous' process. His philosoplaer is lost in contemplation, in about the sense in which the highest grade of mystic experience is defined by Alfons Ro.senberg (cf. note 27) and derived from contemplare = to belzold, to observe, which does not mean an ordinary and normal observation, but the inner vision of the Deity irt its place, tlte templum'. Therefore the manifestation of Light in the Faustus etching has another meaning than tlze Sun in representations of Sight t during the ]6th and ]7th centuries. It is a 'spiritual' Sun, and the mirror which is brought close to the surt is curiously trans- parent and unreal in the sense of incorporeal, immaterial. 2. The conception of Magic in natural sciences of the 16tfi century as exemplifzed by Porta is fundanterttally differ- ent frorrt that of Rembrandt. His scholar is a Magician akin to the Sage and Prophet of the Old Testament, and related to the Dreamreader and Astrologer which Rembrandt already de- picted ill the 1630ies, and whose visions are taken up again in tlze illustrations for Manasse ben Israel's Piedra Gloriosa (The Vision of Daniel B.36b) of 1655. 3. Kauffmann his paper on the Five Senses) and Boja- nowski (1938) have pointed out that the mirror on the etching is an attribute of Revelation. Irz the presettt paper this religion and philosophical topos is being traced frofrt Antiquity till the Baroque Age. 4. The idea of the mirror of God, of God's mirroring eye, connects the Rembrartdt etching with remarks by Jakob Bohme, in whose powerful language Rembrandt's pictorial world, the clair-ob.scur of his rooms and creatures, tlte Divine world of Light and the Shadow of Darkness were boldly anti- cipated. The frontispiece of B6;hiiie's collected works may equally be cortnected with Rembrandt's rendering of Light irt the etching. 5. As for the interpretation of the mirror in the Faustus- etching, a practically unknown portrait of B6hme surrounded by allegoric landscapes (Kunstsammlungen, Veste Coburg) furnishes several important clues.

Journal

Oud Holland - Quarterly for Dutch Art HistoryBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1964

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