“Christ Seated Disputing with the Doctors”, 1654 [Luke 2: 42 – 51]
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.
The subject of this etching was very popular during Rembrandt’s lifetime. This Bible scene, in which the young Jesus, aged twelve, debates with the teachers of the scriptures in the temple (Luke 2:46-7), precedes the return to Nazareth depicted in Wh.-B.60.
The theme Christ disputing with the Doctors was close to Rembrandt’s heart: he used it as a subject for several etchings as well as a number of drawings. It gave him an opportunity to use his considerable powers of invention in portraying the scholars’ skeptical reactions to the arguments of the self-assured boy.
This print is part of a thematic group of etchings, (Wh.-B.45/47/55/60/63/64), almost identical in size and showing scenes from the childhood of Christ.
All images belonging to this group are tender and unpretentious, and at the same time excellent in the facility of the technique.
– An unidentified collector’s mark (L. 2820)
– Pasquale Iannetti Art Galleries, San Francisco
– Douwes Fine Art, Amsterdam, 2006
– Private collection, The Netherlands
A very fine, early impression of New Hollstein’s only state, printing with warm plate tone and a veil of delicate wiping marks, on paper with a Arms of Bristol (Ash & Fletcher 4.A.a) watermark. With small margins, in very good condition, with a couple of minute, inconspicuous thinned spots along the lower left sheet edge.
Bartsch 64; Hind 277;
The New Hollstein Dutch 281: Only state.
Plate in existence – with Nowell-Usticke (1967): C2