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Pioneers in Digital Research and Attributions

"...the actual authorship of these paintings was lost in a veritable blizzard of Rembrandt Misattri- butions."     The Rembrandt Research Committee is sponsored by Veritus, but operates and publishes its findings with autonomy. The committee is dedicated to the discovery of the true identity of the artists who were the creators of the paintings now attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn. To this end, the Rembrandt Research Committee uses the latest in twenty-first century technology and forensic investigative methods. Through the use of modern technology, the Committee is able solve mysteries and to discover centuries old misattributions. Complete Catalogue Raisonn�s in both traditional print media and DVD's will be made available in the future.
    The fundamental problem addressed by this Committee was the authorship of paintings attributed to the hand of Rembrandt van Rijn. Unfortunately, the actual authorship of these paintings was lost in a veritable blizzard of attributions to Rembrandt. In all fairness, Rembrandt has not been alone in this snowstorm of misattribution. Peter Paul Rubens and Sir Anthony Van Dyck share the same fate. A Committee is presently under formation to research both Peter Paul Rubens and Sir Anthony van Dyck. The Rubens and van Dyck committees will use the same technology to research the attributions for these artists.
    It was apparent from the beginning of this study that the number of paintings attributed to Rembrandt was not logically possible. This observation is easy to confirm. One only needs to examine the body of works from other successful but less monetarily valuable artists of the same period. The bodies of works attributed to these artists rarely reaches one hundred pictures. More often, the number is much less than fifty. Even the most egotistical of these artists seldom painted more than ten self-portraits during their lifetimes. Many students of Rembrandt painted for more than thirty years; yet, they have less than ten pictures attributed to their names. This lack of paintings attributable to the followers of Rembrandt is founded in simple truth. Few paintings remain to their credit because most of their finest pictures were wrestled from their rightful names generations ago, often signed with Rembrandt’s name, certified by some "expert," and then sold to a wealthy collector as a Rembrandt.
    The Committee sees the correction of past attribution errors as an asset for all. The Committee believes that the accuracy of attribution is extremely important to the understanding of the artist. Only when the body of work of an artist is properly identified, can we glimpse the genius of the artist. In the case of Rembrandt, the works painted by his hand give us insight into his creative genius. When we examine the work of his studio, we see the genius of Rembrandt expressed through the hands of others. We also see the genius of his management and organisational skills in the studio paintings. Students, whose work has passed for that of Rembrandt, certainly must be examined in a new light. The true value of the works by these artists is bound to increase as we develop an understanding of their individual geniuses.
    Since the turn of the century, many noted art historians and experts have conducted extensive research into the life and paintings of Rembrandt van Rijn. Their opinions have aired in volumes of Catalogue Raisonn�s and other scholarly publications. With each new publication, the resulting number of paintings attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn has decreased. However, the problems of accurate and unbiased attribution remained. Far too many paintings by the students and followers of Rembrandt continued to rest under incorrect attributions. The Committee classifies many of these paintings as classic misattributions.
    Sadly, these incorrect attributions are a great disservice to everyone. It is not fair to Rembrandt to hold him responsible for the paintings of his followers, whether the paintings be good, bad or indifferent. Such attributions take away from the genius of Rembrandt. Concurrently, it is not fair to his pupils and followers to have their very best works taken away and attributed to Rembrandt.
    It was obvious to the Committee that a new method and philosophy for examining authorship was necessary. The Committee was determined not to repeat the errors of those that came before us. It was crucial to develop a new method for attribution based on twenty-first century technology. It was imperative that attribution should not be dependent upon subjective opinions or dubious circumstantial evidence.
    Therefore, the Committee adopted a revolutionary new method of analysis and attribution. Scholars familiar with the works of Rembrandt van Rijn will immediately note the impact of this new method for attribution. Approximately eighty percent of the paintings examined, most of which were published as works of Rembrandt, were discovered to by by another hand. Thus, the total number of authentic paintings attributed to the artist in this Catalogue Raisonn� is considerably less than the number included in any previous Catalogue Raisonn�.
    The Rembrandt Research Committee extends its gratitude to both Veritus and its sponsors for their kind assistance in this project. The costs of research, computer time, technology applications and publishing of this site have been made possible by a grant from Veritus.
"It was imperative that attribution not be dependent upon subjective opinions or dubious circum- stantial evidence."


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