Rembrandt & Degas: Study in Contrasts

(detail) Edgar Degas, Self-Portrait, c. 1855-57, red chalk on laid paper (courte
Edgar Degas, Self-Portrait, c. 1855-57, red chalk on laid paper (courtesy The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)

Mario Naves reviews the exhibition Rembrandt and Degas: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, on view through May 20, 2012.

Naves writes "As a study in contrasts, the Met exhibition has its uses. Degas' exercises in self-portraiture are heady and pitiless, their rigor is risky, pointed and sure. Psychological insight wasn’t alien to Degas' vision, but neither was it a driving force. Rembrandt, on the other hand, couldn’t make a mark without embodying a distinctive and inquisitive generosity of spirit."