Jan 9, 2007

The Presentation in the Temple

The Presentation in the Temple

c. 1654

Rembrandt van Rijn

(Dutch, 1606–1669)

Etching, drypoint and engraving

Overall: 21 x 16.3 cm (8 1/4 x 6 7/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1999.3

Catalogue raisonné: White-Boon 50, only state; Bartsch 50



Rembrandt often illustrated the intimate meaning of biblical events. Here Simeon, to whom "it was revealed ... by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ," holds up the infant Jesus toward the High Priest, a frail figure who allows the prayer book to slip from his grasp. At the left, the Virgin Mary and Joseph humbly kneel in the shadows, while a priest with an enormous crozier towers over all. To Rembrandt, light symbolized divinity and spirituality. By using an unsystematic network of fine crosshatching in the background and by varying the density of groups of parallel lines on the figures, he created an evocative atmosphere where forms emerge from shimmering half-lights. Rembrandt's ability to create a rich pictorial effect with linear means can only be fully appreciated in superb impressions such as this one, where the drypoint accents are fresh and strong and the nuances of the shading are perfectly realized.

See also
PR - Etching
Type of artwork: 

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