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Rembrandt Etchings

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These etchings (hand-drawings on metal, probably copper, yes copper as I read below, done with a special stylus) are taken from a 1921 book from where I read the following introductory sentences:

A few decades ago the ordinary person thought of Rembrandt only as a great painter; that time has fortunately passed. Modern engraving methods have made it possible to spread broadcast reproductions of his etched work. Thanks to these mechanical engraving-processes some of Rembrandt's etchings are now familiarly known and, to a degree at least, they are appreciated.

No reproduction, however, can ever give the subtle quality of the original,and a revelation comes to one who looks for the first time on some brilliant, early impressions of his famous plates. The ink is still alive; the Chinese or Japanese paper which Rembrandt generally used, has sometimes gone very yellow and spotted, but oftener it has the fine mellowness of age.

We treat it with respect, almost with reverence, for we recall that these very sheets of paper were dampened and laid upon the etched plate, already prepared by the hands of the great etcher himself. Each impression he pulled was as carefully considered as the biting of the copper plate. He varied the strength of the ink, the method of wiping, the pressure used; knowing the possibilities of his plate, he so manipulated it that it responded to his touch as a piano responds to the touch of a musician.

Louis A. Holmann, 1921
"Rembrandt and His Etchings"


My mind goes to that "the pressure used" and the variations of touch Rembrandt applied. So, I wonder, would he also try with a Wacom tablet, if he were alive today?



"More than half the subjects of Rembrandt etchings are portraits and studies of the human figure; about one-quarter are scriptural or religious. There are two dozen landscapes, and the remainder are allegorical and fancy compositions. We find then the two most productive sources of his inspiration were the men of his day and the men of the Bible. "


rembrandt etching Jan Lutma
Jan Lutma , 1660
rembrandt etching
Jan Six, 1647
rembrandt etching of his mother
His Mother, 1628

Reminder: Rembrandt life span: July 15, 1606 – October 4, 1669

Follow also these links that I created:

Rembrandt etchings, many etchings from the earliest works to the late years

Rembrand etchings technique an example: details pictures of one of his etchings reveals his technique.


Return from Rembrandt etchings back to the main page


Source: Gutenber Project

Web: this excellent website about Rembrandt






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