[Luke 2: 22-40]
etching and drypoint: 21,6 x 28,9 cm;
on laid paper watermarked “Strasbourg Lily”
(cf. Erik Hinterding, Rembrandt as an etcher. Catalog of watermarks (Illustrations), vol. III, p. 409).
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In a broad beam of light, a dove surrounded by a halo hovers over Hanna as the embodiment of the Holy Spirit, announcing to those gathered the praise of God and the redemption of Israel (Luke 2:22-40). This scene once again demonstrates Rembrandt’s unconventional interpretation of the Bible, according to which the Holy Spirit was with Simeon. Simeon holds the Christ child in his arms and prophesies the fate of the people of Israel as well as Christ and Mary. He appears together with the bystanders – only Joseph, who carries the two sacrificial animals, remains in shadow. Rembrandt worked on his face in the second state with a drypoint – a technique that the artist used systematically for the first time in his etchings from around 1640 to design deeply dark areas. – Reinforced on the reverse of the lower left corner.
As one of the towering figures in the history of art, Rembrandt, a miller’s son from the university town of Leiden, was an artist of unmatched genius. Equally gifted as a painter, printmaker, and draftsman, Rembrandt proved himself to be as skillful at making portraits as he was at creating religious and mythological narratives. His landscapes are just as remarkable as his rare still lifes and subjects detailing everyday life.
Widely recognized as the greatest practitioner of the etching technique in the history of art, Rembrandt created 300 prints that constitute a body of work unparalleled in richness and beauty.
Bartsch 49; The New Hollstein Dutch (NHD) 184 second state (of V).
Plate in existence at Museum het Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam
with Nowell-Usticke C2 (1967)
Magnificent early impression of the rare second state, rich in contrast and clear, before the revised white areas in the upper margin. Cut to platemark.