Etching with drypoint on thin Japanese or Chinese paper. 28,2 x 23,3 cm (sheet size).
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During his lifetime, Rembrandt’s extraordinary skills as a printmaker were the main source of his international fame. Unlike his oil paintings, prints travelled light and were relatively cheap. For this reason, they soon became very popular with collectors not only within but also beyond the borders of the Netherlands, and it also explains why they were affordable to collectors through the centuries, including Bishop Ditlev Monrad, who presented this print to the Colonial Museum in 1869, and Sir John Ilott.
Exceptionally beautiful and strong lifetime print on thin Japanese or Chinese laid paper, with strong drypoint burr and before Captain Baillie’s posthumous revision of the plate. With a border up to 18 mm wide around the clearly visible edge of the panel.
Jan Uytenbogaert (1608–1680) was Holland’s Receiver-General, or chief tax collector. Rembrandt may have met him in Leiden in the early 1630s, when Uytenbogaert was studying law and Rembrandt was studying painting. In Amsterdam, they both enjoyed collecting prints.
Rembrandt may have etched this print as a token of gratitude to Uytenbogaert for his intervention on the artist’s behalf. In 1639, the year of this print, Rembrandt sought to purchase a house in Amsterdam but lacked the necessary down payment, as he was still waiting to receive compensation for the paintings he had completed for Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. Uytenbogaert’s overture on the artist’s behalf was successful, and Rembrandt’s purchase of the house followed soon after.
In this portrait, the artist depicts Uytenbogaert exercising his professional duties. He sits at a carpet-covered table topped with gold-weighing scales and bags of gold, and records payments in a ledger. A kneeling servant accepts one of the bags. To the left, a couple carrying bags of gold are about to enter. Light and dark passages animate the space, with drypoint used to describe the velvety character of his fur coat and hat. One wonders if Rembrandt consulted with Uytenbogaert before composing this conceptually and technically ambitious etching. The profusion of anecdotal detail recalls Northern graphic traditions of a century earlier, reflecting the collecting tastes of both men.
Jan Uytenbogaert, the gold weigher, was a distant cousin of Jan Uytenbogaert, the Remonstrant preacher, whom Rembrandt portrayed in 1635 (cf. NHD, No. 153).
Bartsch 281; White/Boon 281;
The New Hollstein Dutch 172 Second state (of III) ;
Nowell-Usticke : Plate in existence at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.