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Manhood, Marriage, and MischiefRembrandt's 'Night Watch' and Other Dutch Group Portraits$
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Harry Berger

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823225569

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823225569.001.0001

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Introduction: A Shot in the Dark

Introduction: A Shot in the Dark

(p.1) Introduction: A Shot in the Dark
Manhood, Marriage, and Mischief

Harry Berger Jr.

Fordham University Press

A funny thing happens behind the backs of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Wilhelm van Ruytenburgh when they are on the point of leading their company to an unspecified site of assembly or action. We can see the barrel angle up from the Captain's shoulder to the Lieutenant's hat brim and we can make out the puff of fiery smoke it discharges perilously close to the ostrich plumes, which seem flattened back by the blast. That the officers soldier on as if they hadn't heard or felt the shot testifies to their remarkable discipline, or insensitivity, or something else. Sitters are the patrons' representatives, by which the author means that they get portrayed as if their performances are self-willed rather than externally imposed. Sitters appear to have chosen the poses they hold, and in that sense they are depicted as independent agents.

Keywords:   Frans Banning Cocq, Wilhelm van Ruytenburgh, officers, sitters, patrons

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