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    Sale 7534

    Old Master Prints

    4 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 215

    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

    The Virgin and Child with the Cat and Snake (B., Holl. 63; H. 275)

    Price Realised  

    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
    The Virgin and Child with the Cat and Snake (B., Holl. 63; H. 275)
    etching, 1654, first state (of two), a good impression, with the vertical polishing scratches in the foreground, watermark Foolscap with seven-pointed collar (cf. Hinterding Q-a-b, dated 1654), with narrow margins, window-mounted (with minor associated staining at the sheet edges where adhered to the support sheet), generally in good condition
    P. 94 x 144 mm., S. 98 x 147 mm.


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    The obvious prototype for this etching is Mantegna's engraving of the Madonna and Child, a copy of which Rembrandt owned. Whilst Mantegna's Madonna possessed the sculptural monumentality of the Italian High Renaissance, Rembrandt's scene is more concerned with the essential humanity of the Christian ethic; an endearing display of maternal love in a contemporary domestic setting. The presence of the cat may be presumed to be a reference to the Biblical passage relating how the Virgin's cat gave birth to a litter of kittens at the same time and in the same stable as she gave birth to her Son. The Snake is the biblical synonymn for Satan, 'the Serpent of Old', whom the Virgin crushes under her foot as a symbol of the vanquishment of sin.

    Special Notice

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    Provenance

    Tomás Harris (not in L.)