Portrait of Marten Looten
Dr. Wendy Slatkin
19 November 2012
The Portrait of Marten Looten
There have been many great artists throughout the history of mankind. World famous and household names such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Picasso may be the first to come to mind. However there is one artist who perhaps surpasses the aforementioned names in terms of technical skill; a man who is incredibly proficient in the fields of painting and especially etching; a man who’s work symbolizes an entire period of art spanning the majority of the 17th century: Remrandt van Rijn. He has produced quite a large amount of paintings, many of them portraits, but one is of particular interest. The Portrait of Marten Looten is an …show more content…
The physical size of the portrait is 36 ½ x 30 inches. Since the actual painting of Marten Looten is about life-sized, the viewer almost gets the feeling that they are conversing with him. Perhaps if the painting was placed a bit lower on the gallery wall, with Marten’s eye level more or less matching that of the viewer’s, it would feel more like so. The figure style resembles those of the High Renaissance; it boasts accurately proportioned body parts, intricately modeled shadows, and chiaroscuro. Rembrandt could even be compared to the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Titian in terms of technicality, perhaps even surpass them. Martin’s pose itself is not common, nor is it astonishingly lifelike, however it is unique all its own.
Rembrandt van Rijn has always put time and effort into his work, and it truly shows. Descriptions of even his simplest works could fill up pages. His study of the human figure, especially facial expressions, is one of the main reasons why he is one of the most famous artists in history. The Portrait of Marten Looten was produced in 1632 in what was “rightfully known as Holland’s Golden Age” (Broos). This was a highly innovative period for the arts, especially painting. The migration of numerous skilled artists to Amsterdam, particularly Rembrandt, made the