Rembrandt, Harmensz van Rijn, The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, 1634
Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt, Etching, The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, 1634
|Artist:||Rembrandt, Harmensz van Rijn (1606 - 1669)|
|Title:||The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, 1634|
|Reference:||B. 44, H. 120, BB. 34-J|
|Image Size:||10 7/16 in x 8 1/2 in (26.3 x 21.7 cm)|
|Sheet Size:||10 7/16 in x 8 1/2 in (26.3 x 21.7 cm)|
|Framed Size:||27 in x 25 in (68.6 cm x 63.5 cm)|
|Signed:||This work is signed and dated in the plate 'Rembrandt f. 1634.'|
|Edition:||Nowell-Usticke State II (of V); Hind State II (of III); Biörklund State II (of III); Boon & White State II (of III).|
|Condition:||This piece is in very good condition with margins; small paper loss on lower margin.|
|24 Hour Sale:||40% Off: $18,000|
One of Rembrandt's most detailed etchings, this print conveys the moment in which the angels inform the shepherds of Christ's birth. One of the strongest examples of Rembrandt's use of the chiaroscuro effect, we witness a sharp contrast between the heavenly light illuminating the angels in the upper left and the darkness of the shepherd's earthly surroundings below.
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According to the biblical tale of the annunciation, shepherds were tending their flocks in the countryside near Bethlehem when they were terrified by the appearance of an angel. The angel, here illuminated in bright light to the upper left, explains that she bears good news, stating that the Savior Christ has been born in the town of David. Following this news, the shepherds travel to Bethlehem and find Mary, Joseph, and the infant Christ lying in the manger. This dramatic piece is instilled with an incredible amount of detail and emotion. Rembrandt's use of the chiaroscuro effect creates a sharp contrast between light and dark, as we witness the angels illuminated in the upper left and the shepherds in the lower right, the two group divided diagonally by the darkness of the shepherds' surroundings.
This work is a wonderful Nowell-Usticke State II (of V); Hind State II (of III); Biörklund State II (of III); Boon & White State II (of III). This work is signed and dated in the plate 'Rembrandt f. 1634.'
Catalogue Raisonné & COA:
1. Bartsch. The Illustrated Bartsch Vol. 50. Edited by Stephanie S. Dickey. New York: Abaris Books, 1981. Illustrated as catalogue raisonné no.44.
2. Biörklund, George, Rembrandt's Etchings: True and False, 1968. Listed and illustrated as catalogue raisonné no. BB. 34-J.
3. Hind, Arthur. A Catalogue of Rembrandt's Etchings. New York, 1967. Listed and illustrated as catalogue raisonné no. 120.
4. Nowell-Usticke, G.W. Rembrandt's Etchings. Narberth, 1988. Listed and illustrated as catalogue raisonné no. 44.
5. White, Christopher & Karel Boon. Rembrandt's Etchings, Vol. I: Text. Amsterdam, 1969. Listed as catalogue raisonné no. B.44.
6. White, Christopher & Karel Boon. Rembrandt's Etchings, Vol. II: Plates. Amsterdam, 1969. Illustrated as catalogue raisonné no. B.44.
7. A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany this work.
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Biography of Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt
Rembrandt was born in Leiden and died in Amsterdam. He was the son of a miller and a baker's daughter, and was originally intended to become a scholar. He went to Latin School and then enrolled at the University of Leiden. After only a year he left to become apprenticed from 1622 to 1624 to a mediocre Leiden painter, Jacob van Swanenburgh. More important for his artistic development, however, was the short period of about six months that he spent training under Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam. In 1625 he began a working association with his friend Jan Lievens in Leiden, finally moving to Amsterdam in 1631/32. In the history of Dutch painting this date represents an important milestone, as Rembrandt was to become the incomparable representative of Amsterdam art. He soon established himself in Amsterdam, received many commissions and opened a large workshop. In 1634 he married Saskia, a lawyer's daughter, who brought a considerable dowry into the marriage.
In 1639 he bought a large house, never quite paid for, which he filled with works of art and curios. Soon his passion for collecting exceeded his finances. In 1642, the year he painted "The Night Watch" Saskia died, and from 1649 he lived with Hendrickje Stoffels whom he could not marry without losing Saskia's legacy to their son Titus. In 1656 he went bankrupt, and his house and all possessions were put up for compulsory auction. Rembrandt spent his final years in poverty and isolation in rooms on the outskirts of Amsterdam, his powers of creation undiminished.
Rembrandt was the most universal artist of his time and he influenced painting for half a century, irrespective of schools or regional style. From his many fields of activity his pupils developed their own specialties, ranging from trompe l'oeil painting to the very detailed Leiden style. Unlike most Dutch painters of the time, who worked in fairly narrow fields, Rembrandt depicted almost every type of subject.
Although Amsterdam's leading portraitist for a decade ("Jan Six", Amsterdam, Foundation Six), also doing group portraits (The Staalmeesters," he was a painter of numerous biblical scenes ("The Sacrifice of Isacc," St. Petersburgh, Hermitage), of the mythological works works ("Philemon and Baucis", Washington, National Gallery) and landscapes ("Landscape in Thunders Brunswik, Herzog-Utrich-Museum) as well at life. In his work, branches of painting often overlapped, as for example in the group portrait "The Night Watch," where he took liberties with a number of rules. Rembrandt's fame rests on his continual development of pictorial devices and unvarying excellence of execution (unlike the works of Rubens, man which were left in part to workshop routine), a well as on his brilliant handling of light and shade and his ability to suggest states of mind through facial expression.
Apart from his greatness as a painter he was a powerful draughtsman and etcher. About 300 of these Rembrandt etchings survive. In this field he extended the technique and artistic possibilities, for example introducing the chiaroscuro effect, raising it to an art for in its own right. Amongst his approximately 15 drawings, the landscape scenes are particularly captivating in their serenity and harmony. Rembrandt's The Hundred Guilder Print is one of his most valuable and sought after etchings.