Joseph Telling his Dreams by Rembrandt van Rijn

  • This highly detailed etching is the work of Dutch Master Rembrandt
  • Entitled Joseph Telling His Dreams, this print was made during Rembrandt's life
  • Rembrandt was known for both his painting and his etchings throughout his life
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-5333

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Rembrandt van Rijn
1606-1669 | Dutch

Joseph Telling His Dreams

Etching on laid paper
New Hollstein’s third state

This highly important etching was created by the revered Dutch Old Master, Rembrandt Van Rijn. Entitled Joseph Telling His Dreams, this highly detailed composition is an outstanding representation of the painter’s skill as an engraver. This etching is known as a third state lifetime impression, meaning that the original etching, the first state, was altered twice by Rembrandt himself. Originally etched in 1638, this third and final state was made around 1641, the same year as the birth of his son, Titus, and the year before the death of his wife, Saskia. In addition, the printing quality and the paper structure also suggest that this is a lifetime impression.

Though one of Rembrandt’s evocative Biblical subjects, this print displays the intimate naturalism for which his work is known. The child Joseph sits in the center, while his elder brothers surround him, some listening intently to his words and others talking among themselves. Rembrandt’s characteristic sense of humor also comes through even in this solemn composition, as a small dog in the foreground sits diligently cleaning himself.

The son of a miller, Rembrandt van Rijn is believed to have been born in Leiden on July 15, 1606. He studied first at the Latin School, and then was enrolled at the University of Leiden at the age of 14. He soon left to study art — first with a local master, Jacob van Swanenburch, and then, in Amsterdam, with Pieter Lastman, known for his historical paintings. Rembrandt was an exceptionally gifted student and mastered his art in a mere six months. Now 22 years old, he returned to Leiden, and was soon so highly regarded that he was able to take students of his own.

Though known today primarily for his paintings, Rembrandt’s fame spread outside of the Netherlands thanks to his etchings. He made hundreds of etchings over the course of his career from 1626 until 1660, the year he was forced to sell his presses. He created etchings of a number of subjects, including self-portraits, biblical subjects, saints and allegories, and his work was avidly admired and collected, even during his lifetime.

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. and the Art Institute of Chicago. Joseph Telling His Dreams is listed in the catalogue of 18th-century art historian Adam Bartsch as number B037. A third state print is featured in Rembrandt by Mariët Westermann, page 221.



Printed circa 1641

Paper: 4 1/2" high x 3 1/2" wide
Frame: 16 1/4" high x 13 1/4" wide
Joseph Telling his Dreams by Rembrandt van Rijn
Maker: Rembrandt
Period: Pre-18th Century
Origin: Netherlands
Type: Other Fine Art
Depth: 1.13 Inches
Width: 13.25 Inches
Height: 16.25 Inches
Style: Old Masters
Canvas Width: 3.5 Inches
Canvas Height: 4.5 Inches
Joseph Telling his Dreams by Rembrandt van Rijn
A Golden Age: Rembrandt the Etcher

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, known to most simply as Rembrandt, remains one of the important figures in the history of art, and certainly the most significant of the Dutch Golden Age. A master in three different media, he wa...

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