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Spinoza Now$
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Dimitris Vardoulakis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816672806

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816672806.001.0001

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An Inter-action: Rembrandt and Spinoza

An Inter-action: Rembrandt and Spinoza

(p.277) 11 An Inter-action: Rembrandt and Spinoza
Spinoza Now

Mieke Bal

Dimitris Vardoulakis

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter explores the relation between thought and matter from a different perspective, highlighting the rupture that makes their relation possible. Spinoza tackles this by drawing the distinction between essence and existence. This distinction is drawn with recourse to examples from art. As an analysis of three different styles of Rembrandt’s depiction of Joseph, Potiphar, and his wife, Rembrandt’s work makes possible a similar distinction between image and words. The link between Rembrandt and Spinoza is based on adopting a similar attitude to the creation of art and culture. Spinoza emerges not so much as an aesthetician but as a philosopher whose ontology reverberates with an understanding of the arts precisely because the distinction of essence and existence allows for creation and production.

Keywords:   thought, matter, perspective, Spinoza, Rembrandt, art, images, culture, philosopher

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