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Indepth Arts News:

"Rembrandt in Various States, Part II: Etchings from the British Museum and the Rijksmuseum"
2000-10-14 until 2001-01-07
Amsterdam, , NL

In the second half of the Rijksmuseum's bicentenary year the theme of the major project 'Rembrandt in various states' is Rembrandt as an etcher. Two successive exhibitions organised jointly with the British Museum in London feature the different states of Rembrandt's magnificent etchings. The first part, with the early works up to c. 1642, shows how he developed as en etcher. They will be on view at the Rijksmuseum's Print Room from 22 July 2000. The later, more mature and dramatic work can be seen from 14 October 2000.

Both museums have excellent collections, making it possible to present the crème de la crème: gaps in the London collection can be filled from Amsterdam and vice versa. The exhibition will also include splendid drawings and oil sketches by Rembrandt that relate directly to the etchings on show.

Rembrandt was the first artist to exploit fully the technique of etching. Lines drawn in a layer of wax on a copper plate are etched in an acid bath, then inked and printed. By varying the duration of the etching process and the type of inking, different results can be obtained. Rembrandt also made use of drypoint, which involved drawing directly on the plate and gave the lines in the earliest impressions a soft, warm tone. He also printed on lightly tinted Japanese paper, which produced a special effect. Experimentation with the technique and the materials is an important aspect of the oeuvre, its other features being strong characterisation and a fine feeling for light and dark.

The collections of Rembrandt etchings in the print rooms in Amsterdam and London are among the finest in the world. Two hundred of the best and most interesting prints from both collections will give a complete picture of Rembrandt's working methods, as demonstrated by impressions of the same etching at different stages of the process.

A number of etching plates will be shown, followed by drawings, including loans from collections here and abroad, that served as studies for the prints. Early, often experimental impressions were made before an edition of the final version was printed. The exhibition includes several of these remarkable series of the same print showing how it developed. Recent research into the paper Rembrandt used and the watermarks also receives attention. It has added greatly to our knowledge of how printing was done in his studio.

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