• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7534

    Old Master Prints

    4 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 238

    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

    Landscape with a square Tower (B., Holl. 218; H. 245)

    Price Realised  


    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
    Landscape with a square Tower (B., Holl. 218; H. 245)
    etching with drypoint, 1650, a very good impression of the fourth, final state, printing with burr throughout and the scratches in the sky distinct, on fine laid paper without watermark, with margins, a pale rust spot in the foreground, a thin patch in the sky at the upper right, a soft crease at the upper right due to hinging on the reverse, otherwise in very good condition
    P. 88 x 156 mm., S. 96 x 165 mm.

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    Landscape with a square Tower is a wonderful example of Rembrandt's skill in combining both real and imaginary motifs in his landscapes. Whilst the buildings are typical of farms around Amsterdam the topography is similar to the hilly landscape between Amersfoort and Rhenen. In 1649 Rembrandt travelled with Hendrickje Stoffels to Bredevoort (near Winterswijk) close to the eastern border with Germany, to visit Hendrickje's parents. The route they took can be reconstructed from his drawings, and here we see elements of the landscape they encountered. Dutch artists often included ruins in their landscapes to convey a moral message about the inevitable passage of time and the fragility of man's endeavours, but here the past and present co-exist peacefully, and therefore it need not be interpreted strictly according to this convention.
    Some commentators believe the imaginary element signalled a waning interest in strict landscape, and a desire to move beyond the realistic vocabulary with which he had described the Dutch landscape through most of the 1640s. Rembrandt continued to produce both real and imaginary views for two more years, before ceasing altogether in 1652. The only landscapes produced after this time were backdrops for figures in outdoor settings.

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    A. J. Godby (L. 1119b), Sotheby's London, 29th January 1935, lot 169.
    Sold in these rooms, 7th December 1984, lot 512, £27,000