Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669)

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669)
Peter and John healing the cripple at the gate of the temple (Bartsch 94; New Hollstein 312)
Etching with drypoint, 1659, Bartsch's fourth state, (New Hollstein's fifth state of six), with the shadows reworked with a mezzotint rocker, visible on John's forehead, on the faces of the two standing bearded men, on the right edge of the beggar's arm and in the right foreground, on laid, with narrow margins, 180 x 215mm (7 1/8 x 8 1/2in)(PL)(unframed)
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669)
The Descent from the Cross: The Second Plate (Bartsch 81; New Hollstein 119)
Etching and engraving, 1633, the fifth state (New Hollstein's sixth state) with the address of Justus Danckerts coarsely burnished from the lower margin but still partially visible, on laid, with small margins, 530 x 410mm (20 7/8 x 16 1/8in)(PL)(unframed)
 
 Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669)
The Great Jewish Bride (Bartsch 340; New Hollstein 154)
Etching with drypoint, 1635, a fine impression of the fifth final state, with the horizontal lines to indicate the stone work in the right background and additional shading on the highlight on the wall behind her head, with traces of burr on the left hand and the right sleeve, with little to no signs of wear, on laid, with small margins, with a partial watermark of a double-headed eagle, 220 x 168mm (8 3/4 x 6 3/4in)(PL)

The title is an 18th century one and was probably derived from the tradition that Jewish brides met their husbands with their hair down and holding the Ketubah, a document outlining the rights and responsibilities of the groom. Rembrandt lived in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam and was known to use his neighbours as sitters, so it is possible he could have depicted a Jewish tradition. However, it is more likely that the subject is Minerva, the subject of a painting of the same date, or the biblical heroine Esther. It is probable that the model was Rembrandt's first wife Saskia, whom he had married in 1634 and who appears in several of his compositions. The technical skill involved in creating The Great Jewish Bride through five states and its visual splendour make this one of Rembrandt's most sought after etchings.