Rembrandt’s Etchings

By: Alexandra Penkava

The Rembrandt House Museum currently has a special exhibition which displays many etchings by Rembrandt, something that is quite unusual for the museum. The etchings on view at the museum provide insight into not only the artistic but technical aspects of Rembrandt’s printmaking. The museum offers demos that show the visitors how the process that Rembrandt used created hisart, in the same room that he most likely worked in. One demonstration was on etchings and the other demonstration was on the process of mixing paint. Both demos offered a level of interaction allowing visitors to be apart of the long process artists has to go through in order to achieve a finished product.

In the paint mixing demo it took about ten minutes to mix .1 kilo of paint. One of Rembrants most famous works, The Night’s Watch, which he painted in his courtyard because it was too big to fit in his studio, used 70 kilos of paint. Knowing the time and labor that Rembrant’s students had to put into mixing paint adds a whole new level of appreciation to the artwork.

One of the most interesting parts of the museum for me was the Jan Six exhibit.  The exhibition shows the long and tedious process Rembrandt went through in order to perfect an etching of Jan Six reading by a window. The different plates of the same etching show the progression of the work how it slightly changed over time. It also stands as a testament to the dedication Rembrandt had to each piece of art he produced.

 

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3 thoughts on “Rembrandt’s Etchings

  1. I also thought the Jan Six exhibit was interesting. The points you make about the artistic process are really important. No-one thinks about this when viewing. People are naturally selfish and think about how they view and what they like about art. They don’t really think about what goes into making or designing. Some museums do a better job than others of showing this. However, I would argue that most do not.

    Something else that we learned is that Rembrandt was also quite famous for his etching works. It is easy to forget this, but the remaining original Rembrandt etching plates are extremely valuable.

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  2. The special exhibits were fascinating. Although I wasn’t able to go to the etching workshop, I was able to see how Rembrandt used to make paint. It was interesting how they got all of the materials for the paints. I didn’t realize just how hard it was to make colors back then and I realize I take for granted how I can just buy paint at the store. I also realized just how long it would take to paint large paintings like The night watch.

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  3. Great observations here, opening up I thought about how art is labor! Work. I think a lot of artistsvwould probably tell you that, that they might even work on a regular schedule in order to keep production up and not let inspiration falter. I would if that changes anything else about the other forms of art you read about in class?

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