Jul 262012

Surprisingly it is necessary to learn to observe. Observation is a specialized activity and each of us has a mind that more easily absorbs either visual or language based experience. I, for instance, could not tell you the names of streets that I pass every day because I find my way visually, the street names are irrelevant to me. If one is going to become a specialist in art it is important to start with the right “visual” mental make-up.

The present system of selecting art historians seems more concerned with their auditory ability: to learn languages, rather than to observe art. This selection process means students spend their time reading the literature rather than quizzing the works of art. Art History desperately needs practical revision; embroidering on the literature inevitably leads to the accumulation of myth.

The selection of students is a fundamental mistake that has led us into the present morass: the blind leading the “visual” astray. As George Orwell wisely noted “He who controls the present controls the past.” Rembrandt is being changed beyond recognition by those who control Art History today. It is very rare for an artist to get published in an Art History Journal; rarer still for an artist’s findings to be assimilated by the professionals, we are poles apart. It is only in the last 50 years that art historians have been allowed to dictate the direction of art; it has been a disaster.

The saveRembrandt web site proves, beyond reasonable doubt, that Rembrandt worked by observation and not by his ability to invent. This is a fundamental aspect of his artistic make-up. In the case of “The Adoration of the Shepherds” we have two paintings, which replicate on a grand scale, what I have been saying about Rembrandt’s practice in drawings since 1974. It would need an astronomer’s mathematics to work out the odds of such a thing happening by any other means than the use of a mirror. I can only guess it must be many millions to one, against. The reversal of a new point of view of a very complex visual array, can be achieved naturally with an angled mirror. To do it by calculation, as the RRP suggests in this case, is virtually impossible. They do not seem to appreciate just how much of that complexity is seen from a new point of view and reversed. This being so, it is clearly absurd to go on training young minds to see Rembrandt according to the ideas of the Rembrandt establishment, which deny Rembrandt’s reliance on observation and indeed would have us believe that he taught his students to invent! This is a reversal of all documentary evidence as well as the evidence manifest in his works. It must not be allowed to continue.

There are a simple explanations for Rembrandt’s variability. I have tried to make Rembrandt scholars see this since 1977 through publications, lectures and this web site. Yet, I have not succeeded in attracting a single art historian to my courses; they are hermetically sealed from criticism. Artists accept my version of Rembrandt but alas, are too preoccupied with their own work to take the necessary action.