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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
(Leiden 1606-1669 Amsterdam)

“Christ healing the Sick: The Hundred Guilder Print”

etching, engraving and drypoint, complete with small to thread margins all around the plate
281 x 394 mm
finished circa 1648, watermark: Strassburg lily with pendant WR and with the 'IHS' surmounted by a Latin Cross countermark Bartsch 74; Seidlitz 74; Hind 236; Nowell-Usticke 74, second state (of five); White-Boon 74, second state (of two) Plate cut up in approx. 1776 by Captain Baillie – with Nowell-Usticke (1967): C1-
More info

Notes

with inky plate edges at the top and left sides and a delicate ink wash added to the shadows to enhance the contrasts, printed after the addition of the slightly curved diagonals shading the back and neck of the donkey at the right , and before Christ’s eyes were retouched changing their relative sizes, well before any of the posthumous retouching added by Captain William Baillie after he acquired the plate in 1775.

A magnificent and extraordinary, well-balanced life-time impression, reading especially well in the dark areas. This is partly due to the high quality and the tone of the paper and also to the fact that the burr, especially in the left half of the plate, is still intact throughout.

Visually, the only difference between this second and the first state is the extra drypoint on the various figures and the crouching dog in the left foreground, which was obviously burnished down by Rembrandt, because their strong accents were too distracting to the eye. It is generally accepted that the preparation of this formidable etching took several years based on extensive research of the watermarks, it can be concluded that the date of this etching might well be 1648.

Various impressions of the first and second state have been printed on different types of paper, such as white European and Japanese paper.

Rather than depicting a single episode of Christ’s preaching, Rembrandt has chosen to illustrate virtually all of Matthew XIX. Thus, one sees from left to right the Pharisees, with whom Christ debated the questions of marriage and divorce; the rich young man, whom Christ advised to sell his possessions to benefit the poor; the little children, whom he asked to be brought to him; the paralytic woman, whom he healed, and perhaps others as well. The etching style ranges from the sketchiness of the Pharisees to the finished and rich chiaroscuro of the figures to the right, which has caused commentators to date Rembrandt’s earliest work on the print anywhere from 1639 to 1647 (though all agree that it was completed in 1649). There are a number of sketches of these different groups, showing various thoughts Rembrandt had before he was finally satisfied. In the centre is Christ, who visually and logically holds the composition together. Rembrandt’s revisions of this figure are evident in the fine web of lines that chart the face and body, giving Jesus a truly otherwordly glow.

Christopher White (in Rembrandt as an Etcher, p.55) refers to the Hundred Guilder Print as the ‘apotheosis of Rembrandt’s activity in etching in the 1640’s, and according to popular opinion of his whole career’. The etching was highly regarded from the seventeenth century onward, as its informal title bears witness to. There are several conflicting anecdotes as to how the name Hundred Guilder Print came about, the most popular one being Gersaint’s, in the eighteenth century, which was probably based on an inscription on the verso of an impression in the Rijksmuseum. According to that note, Rembrandt exchanged a copy of the etching for several prints by Marcantonio Raimondi, valued at 100 guilders by a Roman art dealer.

The Hundred Guilder Print, common in middle or late pulls, is exceedingly rare in truly early impressions. It goes without saying that it is only by looking at the best examples that one can appreciate the technical brilliance and the spiritual content of this famous print.

The plate was acquired by Captain William Baillie, and reworked in 1775. After publishing a number of impressions from the original large plate, he cut it up in 1776 into four individual parts. Of these four parts, Baillie also printed impressions.

 

Condition

an outstanding 17th century impression of the second state with burr and in excellent condition

Provenance

Joseph-Daniel Böhn (1794-1865) (Lugt 1442);

Dr. Christian David Ginsberg (1831-1914)(Lugt 1145);

With Douwes Fine Art, Amsterdam, 2005.

 

 

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