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Highlights: Weil Gifts

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Image of The Artist Drawing from the Model

Rembrandt van Rijn
Dutch, 1606–1669

The Artist Drawing from the Model

about 1639

Object Type: Print
Creation Place: Northern Europe, Dutch
9 1/16 in. x 7 1/4 in. (23.02 cm x 18.42 cm)
Medium and Support: Etching and engraving on cream laid paper
Accession Number: 1999.0007.0083

Credit Line: Gift of Jean K. Weil in memory of Adolph "Bucks" Weil, Jr.

As an unfinished work, "The Artist Drawing from the Model" is one of Rembrandt’s most interesting and challenging etchings. On one level, it allows us to reconstruct his techniques. He rapidly laid in the outlines of the main forms in drypoint and then returned to the plate with the etching needle, starting with the darkest areas in the background and gradually working up to the more brightly illuminated spots. The print may have been conceived as a permanently unfinished composition. In apparent contrast to his common practice, Rembrandt made a preparatory sketch for this etching. The drawing, now in the British Museum, reveals the artist planned the extreme contrast between the white, un-modelled figure of the woman and the dark background, indicating that at least some of the unfinished passages were to remain only lightly etched at best. Some scholars, however, feel that the etching was abandoned as a failure, possibly because Rembrandt was unable to resolve problems like the placement of the model in space.

See "Rembrandt: Beyond the Brush; Master Prints from the Weil Collection," exh. cat. (Montgomery: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 1999), 48.

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