Rembrandt’s vagabond prints were studies of despair and wretchedness far removed from say, the Frans Hals norm of guileful, droll figures within the tradition of moral satire that reaffirmed popular images of the bottom of the social rung. Rembrandt, though, used the shabby and repugnant in the form of the paradoxical veil; in what Baldwin has called simultaneously hiding and revealing human beings crushed by larger social forces.It was the paradox of the soul hidden yet shining out, the contradiction of of Botticelli where the fallen and ugly were moving relentlessly towards a transfiguration through divine love. While Rembrandt’s unprecedented combination of repugnant ugliness and inner humanity may have offended bourgeois Dutch eyes, it yet reflected contemporary modes of charity.
The Dutch public attitude toward the destitute was similar to contemporary Western practice: a revulsion and repressive satire over implied “diseases”.
If the Dutch money box allowed people to minimize personal contact with the poor, Rembrandt’s prints, like Mitch Snyder’s activism today, confronted burghers with shabbiness, suffering, and the “diseases” of the poor. By revealing individuals with personal histories and needs beneath the dehumanizing surface of ruin and sickness, Rembrandt presumably tried to arouse his fellow citizens to a more genuine social responsibility.Read More:http://www.scribd.com/doc/57145923/Baldwin-Rembrandts-Art-of-Paradox
Rembrandt’s Beggar prints depicted poverty, ugliness and ruin as part and parcel of the ugliness and shame in Christ’s life, in sharp juxtaposition to the manufactured image of the beautiful and heroic; the Catholic church’s twisting of the scriptures to arrive at a conjured archetype, a miracle, that emphasized the rich, powerful and magnificent: the blond haired, blue eyed semite.
Baldwin: If this powerful, rich, triumphant Christ dominated much Catholic Renaissance andBaroque art, it enjoyed less of a monopoly in Northern Europe. In fifteenth and early sixteenth-century Germany and the Netherlands, the late medieval, apostolic ideals of povertyand humility flourished in lay movements and writers such as Thomas à Kempis. Similarly, Northern Renaissance artists such as Bosch, Grünewald, and Bruegel developed a Christian aesthetic of poverty and lowliness.Read More:http://www.scribd.com/doc/57145923/Baldwin-Rembrandts-Art-of-Paradox
Some of the deeply materialist tendencies of the Reformation were seen is a repudiation of the Franciscan concept of voluntary poverty, begging and alms giving and a generally ambivalent attitude towards money. Rembrandt’s vagabond etchings reincorporated the earlier teachings – going back to the desert hermits- and sought out Christ among the poor and shabby of Amsterdam; an evocation of the protestant and even judaic mystery of the hidden god, a mysterious hidden divinity which avoided a pursuit of the divine and its tendency to spiritual materialism and objectification of god where god and religion became the selling of ecstasy as part of a larger commodity fetish.
aBaldwin:In a broader context then, we can see howRembrandt’s early studies of beggars and street people helped him develop a Protestant languageof art, an art of paradox which revealed by concealing. If these works were more Christian thanself-consciously Protestant, more personal than ideological, they nonetheless grew out of theProtestant spirituality Rembrandt grew up with. And in their contrast with the materialistic, bourgeois values celebrated in so much Dutch art after 1640, these later religious works registereda protest against the increasing complacency, vanity, and greed of Dutch life.. Read More:http://www.scribd.com/doc/57145923/Baldwin-Rembrandts-Art-of-Paradoxa
Baldwin: In interweaving sacred and profane, Christ and beggar, in conjoining opposites without losing a sense of opposition, in hiding the divinity of Christ and revealing the humanity of “riff-raff”, Rembrandt brought religious and secular art to a level of representational paradox, mystery, and faith equivalent to that which the Reformation had restored to Christianity. If this accomplishment was rooted in both common Protestant metaphor and everyday Dutch reality, it yet transcended these sources in a language of form and meaning unparalleled in Dutch art. In the end, Rembrandt’s etchings and drawings of beggars remain as unprecedented and personal as his religious work, despite their roots in basic Protestant spirituality.Read More:http://www.scribd.com/doc/57145923/Baldwin-Rembrandts-Art-of-Paradoxa
…where is the place of god? ask the scriptures. martin buber placed god in the most difficult of places: in between and i and a thou. a hidden god remains eternally hidden in the infinity of his alterity. and yet we believe we can still pray to it. but the god of the between requires a human deed for its very existence. dialogue, the act of god-creation, is a fundamentally arduous task of the whole-being. it requires the mind, the body and the social engagement with all three realms of existence. Read More:https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Martin-Buber-Institute-For-Dialogical-Ecology/102320363254a
…Now part of this frustration is to be understood again in relation to structures and institutions. In the way in which our culture of consumption has promoted an addiction to stimulation – one that puts a premium on packaged and commodified stimulation. the market does this to convince us that our consumption keeps oiling the economy for it to reproduce itself. But the effect of this addiction to stimulation is an undermining, a waning of our ability for qualitatively rich relationships…market moralities and mentalities– fueled by economic imperatives to make a profit at nearly any cost– yield unprecedented levels of loneliness, isolation, and sadness. And our public life lies in shambles, shot through with icy cynicism and paralyzing pessimism. To put it bluntly, beneath the record-breaking stock markets on Wall Street and bipartisan budget-balancing deals in the white house lurk ominous clouds of despair across this nation..Prophetic pragmatism attempts to keep alive the sense of alternative ways of life and of struggle based on the best of the past. In this sense, the praxis of prophetic pragmatism is tragic action with revolutionary intent, usually reformist consequences and always visionary outlook.” – cornel west…