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Highlights: Weil Gifts

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Image of Beggars Receiving Alms at the Door of a House

Rembrandt van Rijn
Dutch, 1606–1669

Beggars Receiving Alms at the Door of a House


Object Type: Print
Creation Place: Northern Europe, Dutch
6 1/2 in. x 5 1/16 in. (16.51 cm x 12.86 cm)
Medium and Support: Etching and drypoint with engraving on cream laid paper
Accession Number: 1999.0007.0107

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

This print has often been thought to show a fundamental shift in the artist’s personal attitude toward beggars, or as representative of a general trend in the Dutch Republic toward greater compassion for the poor in the mid-seventeenth century. Protestants, particularly in the first half of the seventeenth century, held little patience for those who would not work for their livelihood, and even less for Catholic institutions and sentiments that encouraged living off the welfare of others. Dutch clerics at mid-century distinguished between those impoverished by unfortunate circumstances and those who attempted to capitalize on the gullibility and charitable instincts of others. This image may depict a new form of community support for the working poor—a stately representative of a municipality standing in the arched doorway of a grand public building offering alms to a blind musician and his itinerant family.
See "Rembrandt: Beyond the Brush; Master Prints from the Weil Collection," exh. cat. (Montgomery: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 1999), 79.

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