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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

The Artist's Mother seated at a Table, looking right: Three quarter length (B., Holl. 343; H. 52)

Details
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
The Artist's Mother seated at a Table, looking right: Three quarter length (B., Holl. 343; H. 52)
etching, circa 1631, a very fine impression of the second state (of three), with the delicate lines in her face and hands printing strongly, with small margins on three sides and thread margins above, some scattered foxing, in very good condition
P. 149 x 130 mm., S. 151 x 134 mm.
Provenance
A. Firmin-Didot (1790-1876), Paris (L. 119), his sale, Danlos, Delisle, Pawlowski, Paris, 16 April - 12 May 1877, lot 1090 (590 francs).
J. D. Böhm (1794-1865), Vienna (L. 271 and 1442).
Franz Gawet (1762/1765-1847), Vienna (L. 1070).

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Lot Essay

This work probably dates from 1631, around the time of Rembrandt's second sojourn in Amsterdam. The sitter has long been identified as Rembrandt's mother, Neeltgen Willemsdochter van Zuytbroeck, and is one of five etchings he made of her between 1628 and 1633. Like other prints of the period it has a certain formality which he no doubt hoped would impress potential patrons. In many respects it is more an elaborate study after a model than a straightforward portrait, and it contrasts markedly with the smaller, more delicate studies done in earlier years. The closely observed details suggest that he worked directly from the model onto the plate, starting with the face, and adding the headdress and figure after. It must have been a success since it was reprinted several times in the 1630's and editions are known from the 1640's.

This impression compares favourably with the Cracherode impression at the British Museum. It prints even more strongly and clearly.

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