CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

In the Shadow of Rembrandt: Dutch Etching in the 17th Century

Exhibition: 15 June - 14 October 2018

In the Shadow of Rembrandt presents 51 graphic artworks by Dutch artists – followers of Rembrandt – using the etching technique, introducing the collection of classic graphic works from the Konrāds Ubāns Art Reading Room. Entrance is free.

The works selected for the In the Shadow of Rembrandt. Dutch Etching in the 17th Century exhibition deal with everyday life in that era – the dangers of war and the fragile idyll of peace, ancient cultural heritage and the presence of religion, nature and animals. The exhibited works are part of the extensive collection of prints and drawings of German art historian and collector Peter Böttger, which the Art Reading Room received as a gift in 2016.

Abraham Bloteling (1640-1690) after Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Good Shepherd, National Library of Latvia, Riga

Abraham Bloteling (1640-1690) after Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Good Shepherd,
National Library of Latvia, Riga

The role of Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) in Dutch graphic art is significant – he is considered one of the founders of contemporary etching. Nevertheless, the artist remained alone in his quest. None of the 17th-century Dutch etchers were able to emulate him and, willing or not, remained in Rembrandt’s shadow.

Etching is an early 15th-century intaglio technique which gained a distinctly contemporary language in the 17th century, further cultivated by future generations of artists. “When creating an etching, the drawing is cut into a metal plate with acid. The plate is first covered with an acid-proof ground, then the drawing scratched out with a needle or a pointed instrument. This uncovers the metal to be etched with the acid. The impression is obtained by filling the etched areas with paint, wiping off the excess and transferring it to paper by pressure. Since the ground is not hard, spontaneous lines can be drawn, different from engraved lines.” (From the album Grafika (Graphics). R.: Liesma, 1989.)

The Konrāds Ubāns Art Reading Room has one of the largest and most significant foreign graphics’ collections in Latvia. It comprises about 10 000 items – the work of artists and printers over several centuries in Latvia, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, France, England, Russia and the US.