Rembrandt's Mother: h. & b. three-quarters r. (After I S. S. & D.), 1628. 2 S. 66×63mm
A hundred years before Rembrandt's time acid had been used to help out the graver. Durer, among others, used it, and he employed also, but in hesitating manner, the dry-point with its accompanying burr. Rembrandt's method of utilizing the roughness thrown up on the copper by the dry-point needle was a development of its possibilities that no one else, even among his own pupils, has ever equaled. It was much the same with everything else: the burin of the professional engraver he handled so skilfully that it is impossible to tell where the acid or the dry-point work stopped and the reinforcing work of the graver began. When others tried to combine these methods they failed. The hand of Rembrandt was the obedient servant of his mastermind: so well trained was it that with a preliminary sketch or without it, the needle produced on the smoked wax surface of the copper the picture which [pg 11] floated before him, so correctly that the brain was not diverted from the ideal picture by any crudity in the lines. If the tools, methods, and effects which the great engravers had used suggested anything to him, he freely took them up and bent them to his will. Making free use of all, binding himself to none, he always remained the versatile, independent student. And the strangest thing about it all is that he appears to have recognized, grappled with, and forever solved the problems of the art while nothing but a youth. One of the two etchings which bear the earliest date (1628) and signature is known as “Rembrandt's Mother: Head and Bust” . It is a delightful little plate, drawn [pg 12] with all the skill and freedom of a practiced hand. Frederick Wedmore, an English authority on etching says that “nothing in Rembrandt's work is more exhaustive or more subtle,” and S. R. Koehler, an American authority, called it “a magnificent little portrait, complete artistically and technically,” and very truly refers to it as “a prefiguration of what was to come.” A man of twenty-two years already a master-etcher!
This below is a B/W reproduction of a painting of his mother in about 1628. I just wanted to have it here to show her in a younger age.
|h. = head|
|b. = bust|
|I S., V S., etc.= first state, fifth state, etc.|
|2 S., 7 S., etc.= two states, seven states, etc.|
|When no number of states is given there is but one.|
|Mod.= Modern impression. (This does not count as a state.)|
|† = of doubtful authenticity. [only.]|
The sizes are of the plates , not of the etched surface.
When the states vary in size that of the first state alone is given.
The sizes are given in millimeters. 25 millimeters equal about 1 inch.