The news of a new Rembrandt is bound to set tongues wagging. And any preconceived doubts about its authenticity are immediately allayed: it looks convincingly like any other Rembrandt. Actually, it’s a little too convincing, and if it looks like every other Rembrandt, that’s because that’s exactly what it is.
Arriving a little too late for April 1st, this composite experiment drawn from scans of 346 paintings, by Dutch museums Mauritshuis and Rembranthuis, alongside Microsoft, ING and the Delft University of Technology takes each known element, from facial types to brushwork to colouring, and mixes them up in a massive cake mixture, where proof is in the.. er.. 3D printing. For surely such a colossal waste of money has to be some kind of joke. What on earth does it teach us about Rembrandt’s methods when it smooshes together all the ingredients into the most generic looking fake? It’s like finding the ‘essence’ of something: take the purest form of strawberry essence and you’ve got the most one dimensional flavour possible, as all complementing elements that make something distinctive have been stripped out.
I’d still rather have this ridiculous but strangely compelling piece – like the ultimate in faking and forgery – than the monstrosity about to be put on sale by the Maddox gallery in London. Illma Gore’s portrait of Donald Trump makes its point about the blow-hard’s questionable attitudes to anyone not white, super-rich and bigoted with about as much subtlety as a micro-penis shaped hammer. Surely a cartoon like a Gilray or Steve Bell would have done? They probably would have been funnier. I guess it’s worth shelling out the cash to own a piece of history (see also the punters going crazy for Maggie Thatcher’s kit in the Christies auction recently), but then the sticking point with Trump is that many normal-brained individuals are terrified that the American populace are giving this chap airtime and attention. Like Kim Kardashian, if we just ignore it, won’t it just go away? If a blonde-wigged monolith falls alone in a vacuum, who would be there to hear it/vote for it? It’s interesting that I mentioned Steve Bell earlier, whom as far as I know hasn’t depicted Trump. I like that thinking – to just hopefully wait for it all to blow over and someone sensible get involved. I’d sooner the episode in history never happened than to let this picture become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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