Rembrandt: A Life

New Word City
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Until now he has remained a mystery, leaving only a few sentences, the letters of his bankruptcy, a mistress's notarized complaint - and the most glorious, compassionate paintings ever to astonish the eye.

The first pure biography of this enigmatic legend is a fascinating detective story in which, clue by clue, the man himself emerges. Charles Mee, historian and playwright, renders a finely textured portrait of the artist against a richly described background of seventeenth-century life.

He captures the human Rembrandt, the ordinary man and unexpected genius. We see the youthful, arrogant poseur, son of a small-town miller, seeking a life of art amid the cosmopolitan bustle of Amsterdam. We see the outsider struggling to rise without patron or court commissions, failing as an entrepreneur while immortalizing simple people in works of haunting complexity.

We see the inspired moments behind masterworks like The Anatomy Lesson and Nightwatch and all the conflicting guises of their creator - bohemian and aspiring bourgeois, husband and lover, honored genius, penurious vagabond, and finally, the essential dichotomy - the egocentric master who, despite his intense self-absorption, captured the diversity of humanity with extraordinary empathy, sensitivity, and grace.
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About the author

Charles L. Mee Jr. is the author of a dozen books of history, on such subjects as the origins of the Cold War, summit diplomacy, and the American Constitutional Convention. He was for some years the editor-in-chief of Horizon, a magazine of history, literature, and the arts. In recent years, he has written several dozen plays, which have been produced in New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Istanbul, and southern India, among other places around the world. Among his many honors, he has received the award for lifetime achievement in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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Additional Information

New Word City
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Published on
Oct 24, 2016
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Art / History / Renaissance
Biography & Autobiography / Artists, Architects, Photographers
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
History / Europe / Western
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Content Protection
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In 2011, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam housing the worlds largest collection of Van Gogh paintings received a staggering total of 1.6 million visitors through its doors (The Van Gogh Museum).

That's not surprising. Is there anyone out there who doesn't know Vincent van Gogh and his paintings? He is undoubtedly one of history's most celebrated modern artists.

Vincent van Gogh lived at a time when the ethereal style of the 19th century Impressionist painters was de rigueur. Although he admired the Impressionists and studied their techniques, Van Gogh had a rebellious, avant-garde way of painting which put him at odds with the conventions of his day (Letters, Letter from Dr. Tralbaut).

There were other rebels like him. Post-Impressionist contemporaries such as Paul Gaugain, Emile Bernard, and Paul Cezanne were experimenting with bold colors and distorted forms. They tried to express certain moods in their painted works which Impressionism could not. The work of all these artists helped usher in the era of Modern art, broadening what future generations would accept as art (Heinich and Browne, The Glory of Van Gogh: An Anthropology of Admiration).

But more than a hundred years later, Van Gogh is the artist-rebel everyone thinks of first.


Frances Billano is a gourmet cook-for-hire and singer. She graduated from Ateneo de Manila University and worked for the Asian Institute of Management.


This Uncle Cent was a partner at Goupil & Cie, a leading French art dealership at the time. In keeping with family tradition, young Vincent began as a trainee at the companys office in The Hague in 1869. It was his first exposure to the European art industry. He got the chance to see works of artists from different countries up close. Four years later, the company was satisfied with his performance and assigned him to their London office.

At first, Vincent took pleasure in being an art dealer. He enjoyed going to work daily at the gallery on Southampton Street, and clients liked dealing with him (Bonger-Van Gogh, Memoir). He was earning enough to live comfortably in a boarding house in the suburbs, occasionally sending extra money home to his family. He was dandy enough to buy a top hat to wear (Letters, Reverend Van Gogh to Theo, 1873)...

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Biography of Van Gogh

+ Vincent Van Gogh: Pilgrim, Painter, Prophet

+ The Minister’s Son

+ The Pilgrim Painter

+ His Life’s Canvas

+ ...and much more

Barbara W. Tuchman—the acclaimed author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning classic The Guns of August—once again marshals her gift for character, history, and sparkling prose to compose an astonishing portrait of medieval Europe.
The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering age of crusades, cathedrals, and chivalry; on the other, a world plunged into chaos and spiritual agony. In this revelatory work, Barbara W. Tuchman examines not only the great rhythms of history but the grain and texture of domestic life: what childhood was like; what marriage meant; how money, taxes, and war dominated the lives of serf, noble, and clergy alike. Granting her subjects their loyalties, treacheries, and guilty passions, Tuchman re-creates the lives of proud cardinals, university scholars, grocers and clerks, saints and mystics, lawyers and mercenaries, and, dominating all, the knight—in all his valor and “furious follies,” a “terrible worm in an iron cocoon.”
Praise for A Distant Mirror
“Beautifully written, careful and thorough in its scholarship . . . What Ms. Tuchman does superbly is to tell how it was. . . . No one has ever done this better.”—The New York Review of Books
“A beautiful, extraordinary book . . . Tuchman at the top of her powers . . . She has done nothing finer.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Wise, witty, and wonderful . . . a great book, in a great historical tradition.”—Commentary

NOTE: This edition does not include color images.
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