This exhibition is a celebration of Rembrandt’s four-hundredth birthday. Rembrandt made almost three hundred etchings during his life (1606–1669), and they are among his finest works.
With the exception of three prints by Ferdinand Bol, Lovis Corinth, and an anonymous copyist, all the works in this gallery are by Rembrandt. Together, they give a sense of the artist’s emotional range and intensity, his love of telling a story, and his technical virtuosity in describing gestures, clothes, architecture, and landscape.
The exhibition is in two parts. The first part is six etchings from the distinguished private collection of Nancy and Nelson Schaenen, Jr., and they show Rembrandt’s etchings from the 1630s and 1640s at a high level of quality and in beautiful impressions. They are especially effective in showing the artist’s transition in style and mood from the dramatic High Baroque of the earlier decade to a quiet introspection in the later works.
The second part of the exhibition consists of the twelve prints in the rest of the gallery. Drawn mostly from the Museum’s permanent collection, these works, beautiful in themselves, also raise more technical issues: impressions pulled from the plate by Rembrandt himself versus posthumous impressions printed after his death; different states of the same print, showing changes the artist made; a line-for-line, faithful (and deceptive) copy; and different treatments of the same subject, by Rembrandt, by a close follower in seventeenth-century Amsterdam, and by a twentieth-century admirer of the master’s work.