Rembrandt's Religious Prints: The Feddersen Collection at the Snite Museum of Art

Rembrandt's Religious Prints: The Feddersen Collection at the Snite Museum of Art

Rembrandt's Religious Prints: The Feddersen Collection at the Snite Museum of Art

Rembrandt's Religious Prints: The Feddersen Collection at the Snite Museum of Art

Synopsis

Rembrandt's stunning religious prints stand as evidence of the Dutch master's extraordinary skill as a technician and as a testament to his genius as a teller of tales. Here, several virtually unknown etchings, collected by the Feddersen family and now preserved for the ages at the University of Notre Dame, are made widely available in a lavishly illustrated volume. Building on the contributions of earlier Rembrandt scholars, noted art historian Charles M. Rosenberg illuminates each of the 70 religious prints through detailed background information on the artist's career as well as the historical, religious, and artistic impulses informing their creation. Readers will enjoy an impression of the earliest work, The Circumcision (1625-26); the famous Hundred Guilder Print; the enigmatic eighth state of Christ Presented to the People; one of a handful of examples of the very rare final posthumous state of The Three Crosses; and an impression and counterproof of The Triumph of Mordecai. From the joyous epiphany of the coming of the Messiah to the anguish of the betrayal of a father (Jacob) by his children, from choirs of angels waiting to receive the Virgin into heaven to the dog who defecates in the road by an ancient inn (The Good Samaritan), Rembrandt's etchings offer a window into the nature of faith, aspiration, and human experience, ranging from the ecstatically divine to the worldly and mundane. Ultimately, these prints-- modest, intimate, fragile objects--are great works of art which, like all masterpieces, reward us with fresh insights and discoveries at each new encounter.

Excerpt

The literature on Rembrandt’s art in general, and prints in particular, is vast and constantly growing. Two recent publications in the field have been particularly useful in the preparation of this catalog. the first is Shelley Perlove and Larry Silver’s magisterial consideration of Rembrandt’s works with religious themes, Rembrandt’s Faith: Church and Temple in the Dutch Golden Age (2009). the authors’ discussion of the iconography of these works is thorough and provocative. Their perceptive interpretations demand serious attention and are therefore addressed in numerous entries throughout this catalog. the second significant recent work is the set of volumes dedicated to Rembrandt’s prints in The New Hollstein Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts, 1450–1700 series (2013), compiled by Erik Hinterding and Jaco Rutgers, and edited by Ger Luijten. the individual entries by Hinterding and Rutgers include a wealth of information concerning the various states of individual prints, the location of existing impressions, and the history of Rembrandt’s copperplates, a number of which still survive. in addition, the authors of the New Hollstein volumes have proposed revisions to the previously accepted dating of several works, including a number of those discussed in this catalog. Since their chronology is based not only on stylistic considerations, but also on the more objective criterion of the history of watermarks, it has been adopted here.

The “tombstone” header for each print in this catalog records the numbers assigned to the work in four standard catalogs of Rembrandt’s prints: Adam von Bartsch (“B.”), Catalogue raisonné de toutes les estampes qui forment l’oeuvre de Rembrandt, 1797; Arthur Hind (“H.”), A Catalogue of Rembrandt’s Etchings, 1923; Ludwig Münz (“Mz.”), A Critical Catalogue of Rembrandt’s Etchings, 1952; and Erik Hinterding and Jaco Rutgers, the New Hollstein volumes on Rembrandt cited above (“NHD”).

Adam von Bartsch arranged his material by subject matter: self-portraits; Old Testament and New Testament subjects; saints; allegorical and “fancy” subjects; beggars; nudes, and “free” and mythological subjects; landscapes; portraits of men and studies of unidentified men; studies of women; and miscellaneous subjects. This is the order that is followed in the Snite Museum catalog, which includes one self-portrait and subjects from the Old and New Testaments. However, since Bartsch did not usually list different examples of the same subject, for example the Flight into Egypt, in chronological order, and since it is useful to consider how Rembrandt’s treatment of a theme changed over time, entries in this . . .

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