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    Sale 7534

    Old Master Prints

    4 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 232

    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

    A Peasant calling out: 'tis vinnich hout' (B., Holl. 177; H. 114); A peasant replying: 'dats niet' (B., Holl. 178; H. 115)

    Price Realised  

    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
    A Peasant calling out: 'tis vinnich hout' (B., Holl. 177; H. 114); A peasant replying: 'dats niet' (B., Holl. 178; H. 115)
    the pair of etchings, 1634, very good impressions of these rare prints, the former with wide margins, in very good condition, the latter with margins, the tip of the upper right corner missing, minor surface dirt and very soft, unobtrusive creasing, otherwise in good condition
    P. 111 x 43 mm., S. 142 x 80 mm.; P. 111 x 39 mm., S. 124 x 53 mm. (2)


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    This famous pair of prints was based on compositions by Hans Sebald Beham, one of the German 'Little Masters'. The two emotions depicted - laughing and wailing - are those identified by the art theoretician Karel van Mander (1548-1606) as being particularly difficult for painters to simulate. They are meant to be displayed back to back, avoiding eye contact with one another, but trying to establish it with the viewer. The complaining peasant has a hunched-up, sour-faced look, whilst the other figure stands with his hands behind his back, cheerfully impervious to the rigours of winter. Many observers believe the peasant on the left is a self-portrait.

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