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Rembrandt or Vermeer?

Here’s a fun question I thought could stir up an interesting conversation:

if you had to chose between Rembrandt or Vermeer, who would you name the more sophisticated or otherwise higher-level titan of the Dutch masters, and why? 


  • edited November 2020
    Has to be Rembrandt, his vision and skills were incredible for his time even up to the point of using texture and subtle thickness of paint to build up the image. Vermeer though a technical master simply used a camera obscura to painstakingly copy what he saw..once you see the documentary Tim's Vermeer it becomes painfully obvious this is what he did.

    Edit: I'd just like to add that doesn't take away anything from him as an artist. I love his work and have seen many of his paintings in the art museums of europe and I even traveled to the Hague in the Netherlands to see The Girl With the Pearl Earring especially...but for me it is Rembrandt.
  • edited November 2020
    @Intothevoid While I respect your opinion and am happy to hear from you, I don’t believe that Vermeer used the camera obscura for all of his paintings, and honestly thought he more often used it as an inspiration to gather a unique perception than something to actually paint directly from. Notice this painting “the music lesson” due to his composition and vantage point as well as the nature of his work and the camera obscures of his time, I find it hard to believe he used that for this one, and many of his works (namely his portraiture) and so I don’t think the basis that he solely copied a camera obscura is totally accurate. This is one of my favorites, due to the skilled use of the mirror in front of the woman.
    p.s. What is your favorite Rembrandt?
  • I personally love them both for different reasons (and some of the same ones as well.) this one is one of my favorites by Rembrandt 
  • I couldn't choose between them. They are very different painters but both were absolute masters. Photography can never do what they did. That's why photography didn't, and never will, kill painting.  I guess if someone put a gun to my head and said now choose, I guess I'd go with Vermeer. :)
  • They are both brilliant in their own ways.  I like Rembrandt’s lighting and his expressive portraits.  And I like Vermeer’s stillness and thoughtfulness in his compositions.    But it seems Vermeer has had more influence in modern art than Rembrandt.
  • edited November 2020
    I love them both, but if I had to choose it would be Rembrandt.

    As far as I am aware there is a much bigger volume of work that we are able to see from Rembrandt. That alone of course does not make someone a better artist, but the sheer breadth  and variation of Rembrandt`s subject matter in his works (drawings and paintings), for me, make Vermeer`s works look a little more of the same in comparison.

  • Agree with GTO - impossible to choose. Imagine world with no Rembrandt or Vermeer.
  • An almost impossible choice! I like them both, in very different ways :)
  • Does anyone have a preference for the way artist handles light in their paintings? They are both masters of light and so i believe this will be namely a matter of taste, but thought provoking nonetheless! Thank you all for responding!
  • I found this documentary on Vermeer interesting, and about 29 mins in they make a distinction between Vermeer and Rembrandt`s work.

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