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April 26, 2022

s2e18 History of Prints Rembrandt (landscapes)

s2e18 History of Prints Rembrandt (landscapes)

Rembrandt is arguably the finest etcher ever


In s2ep18, Ann Shafer and Tru Ludwig talk about one of the best etchers ever, Rembrandt van Rijn. In this first of three episodes on RvR, Tru sets the stage and takes us through some of Rembrandt's key landscape etchings, including the iconic The Three Trees. (The second episode looks at genre—scenes of everyday life—and portraiture; the third looks at religious imagery.)

It’s funny, but every landmark in the history of prints seems like a reaction against what came before it. Remember, we really haven't seen anyone take up etching with this much success so far. It’s been engraving and woodcut until now with very few exceptions. There's a lot to love about a good reproductive engraving (witness the last episode on Henrick Goltzius), but the shift from those formulaic, highly structured images to the flowing and sketchy lines of Rembrandt is huge. And it sets the bar for and forever changes what we mean by autographic etching.

Plus, remember how subject matter has shifted due to the Protestant Reformation, which called for a ban on idolatrous images. Yes, there are still religious images being made—the Catholic Church is still a major patron. But it’s no wonder landscapes, genre scenes, portraits, and still lifes become a thing, especially in Protestant countries like the northern part of the Netherlands (which would become Holland), where Rembrandt lived his whole life.

Images discussed are below along with their credit/institution.

Episode cover image: Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606–1669). The Three Trees, 1643. Etching, engraving, and drypoint. Plate: 8 3/8 x 10 15/16 in. (21.3 x 27.8 cm.); sheet: 8 3/8 x 11 1/8 in. (21.3 x 28.3 cm.). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


Pieter Jansz. Saenredam (Dutch, 1597–1665). Interior of St. Bavo’s, Haarlem, 1633. Oil on panel. 39.3 x 33.6 cm. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow.


Esaias van de Velde (Dutch, 1587–1630). Landscape with Gallows near Haarlem, 1610–30. Etching and engraving. Sheet: 3 3/8 x 6 13/16 in. (8.6 x 17.3 cm.). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


Jacob van Ruisdael (Dutch, c. 1629–1682). View of Haarlem with Bleaching Fields, c. 1670–75. Oil on canvas. 62.2 × 55.2 cm. (24 ½ × 21 5/8 in.). Kunsthaus Zurich, Zurich.  

Caravaggio, Conversion of Saint Paul, 1600–01. Oil on panel. 237 × 189 cm. (93 × 74 in.). Odescalchi Balbi Collection, Rome.

Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606–1669). The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, 1632. Oil on canvas. 216.5 × 169 ½ cm. (85 1/4 × 66 5/8 in.). Mauritshuis, The Hague.

Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606–1669). The Raising of Lazarus, 1630–32. Oil on panel. 37 15/16 x 32 in. (96.36 x 81.28 cm.). Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles.

Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577–1640). The Descent from the Cross, 1612–14. Oil on panel. 420.5 × 320 cm. (165 1/2 × 130 in.). Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp.

Lucas Vorsterman I (Flemish, 1595–1675), after Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577–1640). The Descent from the Cross, 1620. Engraving. 567 x 430 mm. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606–1669). The Descent from the Cross, 1650/52. Oil on canvas. 142 x 110.9 cm (55 7/8 x 43 11/16 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606–1669). The Descent from the Cross, 1633. Etching. Sheet: 20 9/16 x 15 1/16 in. (52.2 x 38.3 cm.). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606–1669). View of Amsterdam from the Northwest, c. 1640. Etching. Plate: 4 7/16 x 6 in. (11.2 x 15.2 cm.); sheet: 4 3/4 x 6 1/4 in. (12 x 15.8 cm.). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606–1669). The Windmill, 1641. Etching. Sheet: 5 7/8 x 8 5/16 in. (15 x 21.1 cm.). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606–1669). The Three Trees, 1643. Etching, engraving, and drypoint. Plate: 8 3/8 x 10 15/16 in. (21.3 x 27.8 cm.); sheet: 8 3/8 x 11 1/8 in. (21.3 x 28.3 cm.). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606–1669). Six’s Bridge, 1645. Etching. Plate: 13 x 22.4 cm. (5 1/8 x 8 13/16 in.); sheet: 13.9 x 23.6 cm. (5 1/2 x 9 5/16 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.


Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606–1669). The Goldweigher’s Field, 1651. Etching and drypoint. Sheet (trimmed to platemark): 121 x 320 mm. (4 ¾ x 12 ½ in.). British Museum, London.

Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606–1669). The Shell, 1650. Etching. Plate: 97 × 132 mm.; sheet: 99 × 134 mm. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago.

 

Platemark is produced by Ann Shafer
Series one co-host: Ben Levy
Series two co-host: Tru Ludwig
Theme music:
Michael Diamond