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Rembrandt van Rijn, Christ Healing the Sick, an etching

 

Height: 278.000 mm
Width: 388.000 mm

Bequeathed by C.M. Cracherode

PD 1973-U-1022

Prints and Drawings

    Rembrandt van Rijn, Christ Healing the Sick, an etching

    The Netherlands, around AD 1647

    'The Hundred Guilder Print'

    This was the most famous of Rembrandt's prints throughout the eighteenth and much of the nineteenth century. Its traditional title can be traced back to within a few years of its creation, and a later story holds that Rembrandt himself paid this very high price at auction in order to buy back an impression.

    The etching illustrates various incidents from chapter 19 of St Matthew's Gospel: 'And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there' (v. 2). The group on the far left are presumably Pharisees asking Christ about divorce (v. 3-9). A young mother steps up to Christ so that he may lay his hands on her child. Peter thrusts her back, looking to Christ for approval. 'But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.' (v. 14). The variety of poses, facial expressions and gestures give us clues to the character and inner life of over thirty-five individuals in this print. Rembrandt perfected them in a number of preparatory drawings.

    The great mass of dark tone above Christ, an effect very difficult to achieve in etching without breaking up the surface of the copper plate, is unprecedented in the history of the medium. The result is one of Rembrandt's most remarkable and highly finished works.

    M. Jones (ed.), Fake?: the art of deception, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)

    E. Hinterding, G. Luijten and M. Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the printmaker (London, The British Museum Press in association with the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2000)

    C. White and K.G. Boon, Rembrandts etchings, an illust (Amsterdam, Van Gendt, 1969)

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