John Goodrich reviews the exhibition Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis at the Frick Collection, New York, on view through January 19, 2014.
Goodrich writes that he was drawn in particular to Rembrandt who "never shied from sentiment and spectacle, but his muscular drawing and color impart a striking gravity to 'Susanna' (1636); no painting here surpasses the weighty drama of its huddled, leaning figure. Hanging alongside, his small, early 'Simeon’s Song of Praise' (1631) could be the ultimate lesson in multi-figure composition: a tilted ring of people—variously stretching, hunching, and leaning—holds beneath the lunging verticals of an immense interior; dramatic contrasts of light fix each person’s rhythmic disposition. (To appreciate how remarkable this work is, compare it to a work by his student, Nicolaes Maes, across the gallery. Maes’ darks are merely dark, not colorful, and his unweighted colors fail to build in sequences that would make any element necessary or unique.)"