Every Monday, we highlight an artwork that is part of the collection of The Rembrandt House Museum, or currently on view at the museum. Today, we would like to take a closer look at a work from our exhibition Glenn Brown – Rembrandt: After Life: Glenn Brown, I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper, 1996, Limousin, Fonds régional d’art contemporain,
In this early Rembrandtesque painting by Glenn Brown, based on a fantasy head of 1633 by pupils of the master, Brown introduces subtle, but unsettling changes, exaggerating the textures and shifting the composition off-centre.
In his essay for the exhibition catalogue, art critic Hans den Hartog Jager wrote: “Rembrandt’s popularity is based to a significant extent on the fact that his life and his work are a perfect fit, in retrospect, for romantic principles. Rembrandt was a classic social outsider (he was misunderstood, had difficulty with relationships, went bankrupt) and his highly personal, safe to say unique technique and view of the world are very evident in his work: if there is one seventeenth-century artist who embodies the idea of the artist as creator of and ruler over his own universe, it is Rembrandt. This is unquestionably why Glenn Brown let him loose in his universe relatively early in his career. I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper (1996) is a typical Brownian game with Rembrandtesque characteristics. Almost in passing, Brown shows that in terms of the boy’s style and dress, he is able to effortlessly evoke the sense of Rembrandt (such that you immediately wonder how he actually does it), while the naïve look of that one small boy primarily conjures up associations with the tabula rasa of the nineteenth century. This is what makes the canvas, particularly in combination with the title (taken from a rather obscure minor hit by Sarah Brightman of 1978 – when Brown was twelve, about the same age as the boy in the picture), a magnificent early exemplary ‘Glenn Brown’.”
In the exhibition Glenn Brown – Rembrandt: After Life The Rembrandt House Museum presents a selection of works in different media: paintings, drawings and prints. Brown’s contrarian audacity sticks out, his unique way of inverting the effects and aims of many much-loved works in the Western canon, including Rembrandt. It is with great pride and excitement that we present the results now, in Amsterdam, in Rembrandts home and workplace. One wonders what strands of conversation could be heard in the house had the great old master and this great new master met. The exhibition Glenn Brown – Rembrandt: After Life is on view at The Rembrandt House Museum until April 23rd 2017. More information: https://www.rembrandthuis.nl/en/bezoek/tentoonstellingen/glenn-brown-rembrandt-after-life-2/