Rembrandt van Rijn is the most-known and was the most important artist active during the Dutch Golden Age. His unrivaled skills as a painter, printmaker, and draftsman are well recognized, as are events in his life. Born in Leiden and the son of a miller, Rembrandt began his artistic exercise in his home and moved to Amsterdam for a fleeting time to study with the history painter Pieter Lastman. Rembrandt then became an autonomous master in Leiden about 1625. By the time he relocated to Amsterdam in the early 1630s, his reputation as an artist and teacher was well established. At first Rembrandt succeeded in Amsterdam, as success in his personal and professional lives hurled him to the position of the city’s most important portrait and history painter during the 1630s and 1640s. During these years he married Saskia van Uylenburgh, bought a big house (today the Rembrandt House Museum), and oversaw a large workshop with many students. Rembrandt’s good lucky eventually abandoned him, and as his career advanced, his financial circumstances worsened. Declaring a form of bankruptcy in 1656, Rembrandt died in Amsterdam on October 4, 1669. He was buried four days later in a rented grave within the city’s Westerkerk (West Church).
REMBRANDT ON KRNN, 7/15: A multifaceted artist, talented in mediums of painting, drawing, and etching, renowned for his empathy for the human condition, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born on this date in 1606. You are invited to listen as we “paint” a Rembrandt birthday playlist on Crosscurrents, 7/15 at 8 am.
He left no journals. No autobiographies. No letters aside from the occasional plea for patronage. His most considerable modern biography, no more than a few paragraphs in all, reveals little beyond the human capacity for understatement. “He was moved toward the art of painting and drawing,” the text reads. “It was clearly evident that he would one day become an exceptional painter.” The total of his known painterly philosophy amounts to six words: to produce die meeste ende die natureelste beweechlickheyt—or “the greatest and most natural movement”—a phrase whose precise meaning remains hotly contested to this day. In the annals of art history, there are those whose stories remain shrouded by the passage of time. And then there is Rembrandt.
Never has such fame yielded so little historical record. Some four centuries on, this ambiguity has lent itself to a crowd of narratives about the immortal painter of The Night Watch (1642). Buried in an unmarked grave in 1669 “without a friend or a guilder, or even a good piece of herring,” as art historian Seymour Slive once wrote, Rembrandt’s body was not yet cold in the ground before his resurrection was underway. According to art critic Sylvia Hochfield, by the middle of the 18th century, “the ultimate outsider was becoming the ultimate misunderstood genius.” By the 19th century, Rembrandt was branded a rabble-rouser, a Romantic, a democratizer of the arts and society. In the 20th century, he had almost vaporized—reduced to a kind of ghostly spirit looming over a body of work deemed increasingly impossible to distinguish from that of his pupils.
What has appeared over time is a inconsistent composite: Rembrandt the sage; the lout; the populist; the snob. To accept any one label over another is, in a sense, to miss the point. For as with Rembrandt’s remarkable oeuvre, the truth is found not in parsing the artist’s various characteristics, but in learning to embrace the multiform whole.
Before 1664, the land we now know as New Jersey was under a Dutch governor, but on June 24, 1664, the British sailed into New York Harbor and took control of Fort Amsterdam and its associated lands.
NEW JERSEY FOUNDED ON KRNN, 06/24: The Duke of York believing that he owned the land presumed to make a gift of the territory to his favored lords on this date in 1664. No need to choose between north and south Jersey, just tune in for a playlist of new New Jersey bands on Crosscurrents, 6/24 at 8 am.
The land was granted by King James to two friends, George Carteret and Lord Berkley. Colonization took place along the Arthur Kill and Hackensack River with many of the pioneers coming from other colonies, as opposed to coming from distant shores. In 1673, Berkley sold his half to the Quakers, who settled the area of the Delaware Valley. New Jersey was separated into East and West Jersey from 1674 to 1702.
It was ruled as a single colony with its own governor from that point to the time of the American Revolution. New Jersey approved its constitution two days before the Continental Congress professed American independence from England, and, well, you know the rest; New Jersey was key in the Revolution, receiving the nickname “Crossroads of the Revolution” and hosting such important battles as the Battle of Trenton (I & II), the Battle of Princeton, the Battle of Monmouth, and, of course, Washington crossing the Delaware.
None of that would have happened if New Jersey hadn’t become a British colony, three hundred fifty-four years ago this week.
The Act of Uniformity passed in 1662 prescribed the form of public prayer, administration of the sacraments and the rites of the Established Church of England. Adherence to these rites was required to hold office in the government or the church in England. Berkeley and Sir George Carteret saw this as an chance to lure disgruntled Englishman to emigrate to the New World to populate their colony. They wrote The Concessions and Agreements, which guarenteed those who would settle the land, freedoms and rights that they could not enjoy in England; freedom of religion, freedom from persecution for religious beliefs, land, and the right to manage their own affairs.
However, their strategy to profit from the land was thwarted for two reasons. First, the new Governor of New York, who had arrived with the Duke of York’s fleet, had already granted a half a million acres of the land, known as the Elizabeth Town Purchase, to settlers from Long Island and Connecticut. When Philip Carteret, cousin of Sir George Carteret, the appointed representative of Carteret and Berkeley, arrived in New Jersey he was met by settlers already in control of the land. A second obstacle to Berkeley and Carteret’s rent system was the awkwardness of gathering rents in the vast unsurveyed territory.
While the Concessions and Agreements were not an effective temptation for immigration from England they were a major motivation for an incursion of settlers from New England and Long Island, where many, such as Quakers, had experienced religious persecution; others were desirous of new lands and opportunities. The Concessions provided settlers, in return for swearing Allegiance to the King and faithfulness to the interests of the Lord Proprietors: the status of freeman, guaranteed freedom from being molested, punished, disquieted or called in question for any difference in opinion or practice in matters of Religious concernments; the right to choose representatives from among themselves for an Assembly charged with making laws, establishing fair courts, laying out of towns and other divisions; and levying equal taxes on the lands to support the “public charge” of the Province; constitute a military from within the Province for security; and, receive clear recorded title to land after seven years. Future settlers were to be seen as naturalized, with all the rights provided by the Concessions, by swearing allegiance to the King and faithfulness to the interests of the Lord Proprietors.
The Concessions and Agreements, signed in 1665, was an very significant text, which recognized a representative form of self-government, set civic responsibilities and guaranteed personal freedoms in New Jersey 110 years before the Revolution. A key provision of the Concessions, which became of central importance in the next century, was that taxes could only be levied by the representative Assembly of the New Jersey for the sole use to support the Province. King George’s effort to levy taxes for the sustenance of England and the Crown was seen by colonists as taxation without representation and a direct violation of the Concessions and contributed to revolutionary furor in New Jersey (see Appendix A- Excepts from the Concessions and Agreements).
[Descendents of the Founders Of NewJersey]
Lord Berkeley finally sold his interest in West Jersey. Quakers, along with Finns, Swedes, and Dutch, settled in West Jersey in the 1670s, later establishing strong connections to Philadelphia.
Both regions comprised progressive government, religious freedom, and considerable political participation. The colony’s rich lands and political freedoms encouraged immigrants to venture to New Jersey, uniting the traditions of liberty and diversity in the Garden State. While these regions ultimately merged into one colony, remnants of this early dissection persist to this day. North Jersey roughly corresponds to East Jersey, while South Jersey is what once was West Jersey.
With over 1000 patents for his innovations, Thomas Edison was born on this date in 1847. You are invited to a record rock hop honoring Thomas Edison inventor of the phonograph (and thereby all record hop dances) on Crosscurrents, 2/11 at 8 am.
If you fancy 1950’s and 1960’s sock hop music and enjoy reflecting on the innovations of Thomas Edison on his birthday, then we have a show for you. Among the craziness will include:
Telephone – Hello Baby, LaBamba, That’ll Be The Day
Motion Picture – SiIhoettes, I Only Have Eyes For You
Car Battery – Rocket 88, Speedo
Microphone – Wall Of Sound
Phonograph – At The Hop, Land Of 1,000 Dances, Let’s Dance
Wizard of Menlo Park – Duke Of Earl
World of Innovations – What A Wonderful World