The Trace and the Gaze: Textural Agency in Rembrandt’s Late Portraiture, a Vision Science Perspectiv

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Steve DiPaola: The Trace and the Gaze: Textural Agency in Rembrandt’s Late Portraiture, a Vision Science Perspectiv. In: Proc. Electronic Visualisation and the Arts, 8 pages, London, 2008.



This interdisciplinary paper hypothesizes that Rembrandt, reacting to his Italian contemporaries, developed specific painterly techniques, typically not associated with the early modern period that engaged the viewer and directed their gaze. Though these methods were not based on scientific evidence at the time, it can be argued that they are based on a correct understanding of visual perception. Using scientific and critical sources, this paper attempts to support and extend art history theories that artists in the late ‘early modern’ period developed painterly techniques associated with optics and texture, along side the more established perspective construction, to guide and influence the observer’s perception of their work. While discussed in general terms, the paper will focus on faces and portraiture and will analyze Rembrandt’s late portraits to support the general thesis.

Extended Abstract


Used References

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