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Christ Preaching (The Petite Tomb) (B.67)

Rembrandt Christ Preaching

  • Etching and drypoint on laid paper with threadbare margins. Arms of Amsterdam watermark (variant) which according to Ash and Fletcher was imported from France c. 1650.
  • Biorklund Barnard's first and only state, White and Boon's first and only state, and Nowell Eusticke's first state of three, with the heavy burr or "dark sleeve" of the man in the left foreground, the back of the leaning man in the right foreground, Christ's left sleeve and part of the headdress of the woman behind Christ's right arm, and the beard of the man in the left background.
  • According to Nowell Eusticke, a late first state impression in the seventeenth century, before the Watelet retouch.
  • Biorklund Barnard comments that the "black sleeve" is not necessarily a state with increased burr but, "the black sleeve has often been produced by adding printing ink after wiping the plate".
  • This work is one of the finest examples of Rembrandt's mastery of the Baroque style, where the emphasis is on balance, through the harmony of parts in subordination to the whole. It features a theatrical use of strong contrast between the light and shadows, which is known as chiaroscuro. In the image Jesus stands framed in rich details. The arch motif, which was often used by Rembrandt as a compositional device, is behind Christ and off to the right. He stands on a stone slab and receives the rapt attention of every figure in attendance (except for the child at bottom center). The light, which originates in Christ's countenance and is enhanced by the light patch on the wall behind Him, streams through the composition and illuminates the figures. This creates a unifying quality both compositionally and metaphorically.
  • Schwartz says that the theme has no specific scriptural or iconographic precedent.
  • According to White and Boon the title, La Petite Tomb, first given by Gersaint, is based on a misunderstanding of the description given in Clement de Jonghe's inventory "La tombisch plaatjens", which probably refers to a family member of the La Tombe family.

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