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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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Disaggregation as Class Conflict

Disaggregation as Class Conflict

(p.191) 15 Disaggregation as Class Conflict
Manhood, Marriage, and Mischief

Harry Berger Jr.

Fordham University Press

Captain Cocq performs his pose with authority, as if he knows it derives both from “the tradition of Amsterdam guard Captains” and from a predominantly aristocratic tradition of full-length individual portraits. But his performance only makes his relation to what goes on around and behind him more peculiar. According to Norbert Schneider, the confusion is what makes the painting special because it enables The Night Watch “to break down boundaries between the portrait and the history painting.” He argues that Rembrandt's purpose is to “impart nobility to his bourgeois clientele by showing them as historical agents, a role hitherto considered above their station.” In spite of his reliance on the clichés of class conflict, he remains sensitive to the complexity of what he describes.

Keywords:   Captain Cocq, Norbert Schneider, The Night Watch, Rembrandt, portrait, painting, class conflict, disaggregation

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