Philosophy Analyzing Rembrandt The Following Paper Is Research Paper

Length: 4 pages Subject: Black Studies - Philosophy Type: Research Paper Paper: #9393565 Related Topics: Philosophy Of Education, Enlightenment Period, Painting, Aristotle
Excerpt from Research Paper :


Analyzing Rembrandt

The following paper is a response to questions regarding the painting, "Aristotle with a Bust of Homer." The painting was painted by Rembrandt van Rijn in 1653. It is oil on canvas and access to the painting is gained by the website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, physically located in New York City.

The paper will first contextualize the painting, trying to situated in history and establish a historical perspective by which further interpretation of the painting. Rembrandt completed this painting at the approximate midpoint of the 17th century. As in many centuries in history, the 17th century was a century full of achievement, development, and conflict. Rembrandt is a European artist, so the paper will summarize some of the developments in Europe during this period. Culturally, Europe entered the Early Modern period as well as the Baroque period. There was a huge surge in culture with respect to music. Furthermore, more so toward the conclusion of this century, there was a scientific and mathematical revolution in Europe. Prominent figures apart of this scientific surge included Sir Isaac Newton and Galileo Galilei, among others. Concepts that are taught as basic science and intermediate mathematics in the 21st century were innovations during the 17th century. Quite obviously this was a period where there was great colonization and imperialism around the world, particularly in the newly "discovered" Americas. Slavery, trade, and expansion were booming...


Philosophically, Europe entered the famous Enlightenment period. Philosophy is certainly a prominent concept in the painting; therefore Rembrandt's painting, at the time, must have been praised or noted for how very contemporary the content was. The painting, among other expressions of the time, was an accurate and apt sign of the times, conceptually and thematically.

The painting is an expression of the conversation between poetry and philosophy. Aristotle was an eminent philosopher of his time and long after his passing. In the 21st century, in the western world and beyond, Aristotle's teaching are often a part of the fundamental curriculum for areas of study in higher education such as political science, philosophy, law, debate/speech/oration, and others. Aristotle is a figure that represents authority, contemplation, adoration, respect, and thoughtful intellectualism. In the painting, he stands, with his hand on his hop, decorated in formal wear, that of a soldier or at least a figure not of the lower classes. He is decorated with a golden sash and a medal resembling Alexander the Great, a man whom Aristotle finally tortured. This is a very dense expression of what Aristotle represents with respect to philosophy. Aristotle embodies philosophy with strength, with authority, with a conquering type power that can overcome those who would claim the world in their names, such as Alexander the Great. Aristotle stands in an open and confident stance as he peers and contemplates the bust of Homer. In the painting, Aristotle represents philosophy as all of these things, yet still intellectual, taking time to remember and consider great figures of the past. This is the position from which the conversation between philosophy and poetry takes place, or at least begins or is situated.

Homer was an epic poet of an earlier period in history than the one from which Aristotle was a part of. As the reader might know or imagine, artists and sculptors did not make busts of figures who were considered ordinary. Thus, to make a bust of…

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