Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

A blind Hurdy-Gurdy Player and Family receiving Alms

Details
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
A blind Hurdy-Gurdy Player and Family receiving Alms
etching and drypoint, 1648, on laid paper with part of a Strasbourg Lily watermark (Hinterding C.f, circa 1648), a fine impression of New Hollstein's first state (of five), printing with great clarity, depth and contrast, with thread margins on three sides, trimmed to or on the platemark above, the sheet slightly toned, otherwise in very good condition
Plate 165 x 129 mm., Sheet 166 x 131 mm.
Literature
Bartsch, Hollstein 176; Hind 233; New Hollstein 243

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Lot Essay

A blind Hurdy-Gurdy Player and Family receiving Alms is Rembrandt’s most monumental treatment of the theme of beggars, a subject prominent in 17th century art, often used as an exhortation to the viewer to commit acts of charity. Rembrandt’s deeply sympathetic depiction of an impoverished musician and his family avoids the caricature of the poor common at the time, focusing instead on their humanity and the redemptive act of giving. The rendering of the youth standing with his back to the viewer has been described by Ger Luitjen as ‘unparalleled in the history of printmaking’. He goes on, ‘The way in which the contours are delineated against a densely hatched section behind, the few lines that are needed to indicate shapes, the shrewd use of light effects and perfect rendering of textures are signs of an artist whose skills are fully matured’ (E. Hinterding, G. Luijten & M. Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, The British Museum Presss, London, 2000, p. 251).
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