Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Rembrandt the Printmaker

The Printmaker at Rembrandt's house in Amsterdam

A reproduction of the printing press that Rembrandt used.

Zoe and Jill with an etching hot off the press.

On our recent trip to Amsterdam we visited Rembrandt's house.

Because he went bankrupt there are detailed records of his house contents. This allowed the museum curators to make an accurate reconstruction of his house contents. He had his studio in his house and pupils paid to study with him. Next to his painting studio he had a Printmaking room complete with Printing press. We watched a demonstration of the etching process and different etching techniques were explained. Rembrandt often used etching and drypoint on the same plate and his etching plates were often worked over several times, creating very different versions of the same image.

In the upper part of the house there is a huge collection of his wonderful etchings. I think one of my favourites was a tiny sleeping dog, the only image he ever created of an animal on its own. I also loved his studies of people - he always managed to convey their individual characters with such vibrancy whether they were peasants or important dignitaries.


Ander said...

I have yet to be lucky enough to see Rembrandt's house. His works will live on forever. Here's some of my favorite Rembrandt prints. His true depiction of his subjects is one of the things I like most about Rembrandt's works.

Thank you for this post.

Kathryn Mackenzie said...

This sounds like such an interesting visit - it must have been great to explore his house and studio as they would have looked when he lived there. The use of the records relating to his bankruptcy to reconstruct the studio reminded me of the Blake exhbition we saw at Tate Britain where the original catalogue and reviews of the time were used to recreate Blake's exhibition of 1809. The wonder of Archives!