Christ Seated Disputing with the Doctors by Rembrandt van Rijn

  • Among the very best of the Old Masters stands the revered Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn
  • This remarkable etching displays the artistry and detail for which Rembrandt's prints are renowned
  • Versions of this etching reside in numerous museums including the National Gallery of Art
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-4653

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Rembrandt van Rijn
1606-1669 | Dutch

Christ Seated Disputing with the Doctors

Etching on laid paper
New Hollstein’s first state
Signed and dated "Rembrandt. f. 1654" (upper left)

Among the very best of the Old Masters stands the revered Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn, arguably the greatest etcher in the history of art. Certainly the most important Dutch etcher of all time, his oeuvre boasts close to 300 authenticated prints, and his innovative techniques in the medium are without precedent. This incredible etching, entitled Christ Seated Disputing With the Doctors, displays the artistry and detail for which Rembrandt's prints are renowned.

In this work, Rembrandt depicts one of the few events from Christ's childhood recorded in the Bible. When he was 12, Christ and his parents celebrated Passover in Jerusalem. Afterward, his parents began the return trip home to Nazareth, unaware that he had stayed behind. His parents returned to look for him, after three days discovering him in a temple conversing with wise and learned elders who were impressed with his knowledge and understanding. The expressions of bewilderment and wonder are evident on the elders' faces, while Christ's face and posture are animated and fully engaged. Rembrandt often looked to the Bible for subject matter for his etchings, and the New Testament was of particular interest to him, with some of his most successful etchings depicting scenes from Jesus' life.

While also celebrated today for his paintings, Rembrandt was renowned throughout his lifetime as a master printmaker. Emerging in the region in the early 16th century, printmaking experienced increased popularity during Rembrandt's lifetime, when an affluent new merchant class with money to spare for artworks flourished. Among the many printmakers of the era, Rembrandt stood out as he exploited the medium to its fullest. He often utilized techniques from his paintings, such as chiaroscuro, and successfully translated it to copper plate. His fluid lines, delicate cross-hatching and subtle tonalities allowed Rembrandt to achieve the sense of atmosphere that set apart his works.

Versions of this etching reside in numerous museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, and the Art Institute of Chicago. A version of this etching can also be found on p. 254 of Rembrandt: The Complete Etchings by K.G. Boon.

Printed circa 1654

Etching: 3 3/4" high x 5 3/4" wide
Frame: 14" high x 16 3/4" wide

Provenance:
Private collection, San Diego, California.

Literature:
New Hollstein, 281.
Christ Seated Disputing with the Doctors by Rembrandt van Rijn
Maker: Rembrandt
Period: Pre-18th Century
Origin: Netherlands
Type: Other Fine Art
Depth: 0.5 Inches
Width: 16.75 Inches
Height: 14.0 Inches
Style: Old Masters
Canvas Width: 5.75 Inches
Canvas Height: 3.75 Inches
Christ Seated Disputing with the Doctors by Rembrandt van Rijn
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