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Rembrandt art of etching
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Biography of Rembrandt Van Rijn

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29469 Northwestern Hwy.
Southfield MI 48034

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The Art of Etching | Rembrandt's Influence | Subjects |
States of the Plates | Demonstration

Rembrandt's Mastery and Influence

While Rembrandt is most famous for his paintings, his unofficial title of “the Master Etcher” is a perfect fit; his mastery of the medium of etching, which he revolutionized and perfected, is unmatched by any artist in history. His ability to capture the intricate details and nuances of his subjects and to create spatial depth with the use of chiaroscuro (strong contrasts of light and shade) effects shows Rembrandt’s true artistic genius.

Rembrandt’s genius was recognized during his lifetime and as a result many of his contemporaries were collectors of his work and many artists sought to learn under him. Despite there being many artists who strove to replicate his mastery of etching by studying his plates and impressions, no one to date has been able to equal him, even with the advent of new technologies.

Etching and the ways in which the materials of the medium could be used to convey so much information about a subject intrigued Rembrandt and thus drove him to continually hone his skills and experiment. It is this experimentation and evolution that allow the division of his works into three periods, each of which possess distinct and predominant characteristics.

1628 – 1639
A careful and restrained draftsmanship style can been seen in Rembrandt’s works from this period along with his use of pure etched lines. It was during this period that Rembrandt truly began to think of printmaking as its own artistic medium. He considered it separate from his paintings and he rarely, if ever again, used his paintings as models for his etchings or created a narrative dialog of his themes between the two.

1640 – 1650
Rembrandt began incorporating drypoint and burin into his works which heightened the effect of light and shade in his etchings. He devoted substantial attention to the overall design and tone of his compositions, and the style he utilized was far less restrained.

After 1651
During this period, Rembrandt’s lines of shading were more open, the breadth of his technique expanded, and the forms he used were less conventional than before.

The Art of Etching
Subjects of Rembrandt Etchings
States of the Copper Plates
Etching Demonstration

For more information on the Park West Rembrandt collection: (800)-521-9654 xt. 4 or (248) 354-2343.