Etching as a printmaking medium emerged in the early 16th century in Germany and Italy, but its full creative potential only was realized with Rembrandt van Rijn. He was the first etcher to seriously exploit the expressive effect of printing on different papers to make radically different inkings of the same plate, and to dramatically alter the image on the plate.
The exhibition ‘Rembrandt the Etcher’ examines how the artist’s etched images can be deliberately pale and delicate or consist of dense webs of profound darkness. They also can be rough sketches or highly finished, meticulously detailed compositions. Among the works on view are Old and New Testaments narratives—some of the most insightful Biblical illustrations ever conceived—as well as self-portraits, landscapes, nudes and scenes of everyday life.