CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Rembrandt. Etchings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

25 April - 2 September 2024

Rembrandt. Etchings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Exhibition: 25 April - 2 September 2024

Rembrandt, the absolute master of engraving

Rembrandt was profoundly innovative and revolutionized the art of engraving. He adopted a resolutely experimental approach and developed the process to the utmost. Like DĂŒrer, Goya, or Picasso, Rembrandt is regarded as one of the greatest engravers of all time. He produced some of the most celebrated works in the history of the medium and his impact on the discipline is still relevant today.

The exhibition presents Rembrandt’s engravings, which established the artist’s reputation and have always been appreciated by art lovers. Rembrandt produced 300 engravings between 1625 and 1665. Most of the works are etchings, a complex technique in which the image is etched on a copper plate using an acid. For Rembrandt, etching was a full-fledged art form equal to painting that he researched passionately throughout his career. Moreover, almost all of his prints are original works independent of his paintings.

Rare, remarkable works

The 80 works selected will offer a panorama that reveals Rembrandt’s outstanding skill as an engraver in the human, aesthetic, and technical dimensions of engraving. The exhibition will include the artist’s foremost masterpieces, i.e., The Hundred Guilder Print (circa 1648), The Three Crosses (1653), and The Little Tomb (circa 1657), and other outstanding works.

The exhibition encompasses all the topics that Rembrandt broached. His self-portraits reconstitute the artist’s biography while his religious prints propose a unique, spectacular interpretation of the Bible. His landscapes reveal an artist of exquisite sensitivity. His portraits and genre scenes display the full diversity of Dutch society at the time.

The exhibition will also enable visitors to see Rembrandt in his historic period and environment as a resident of Amsterdam, a thriving, cosmopolitan city and brilliant hub of intellectual and artistic life, and an inhabitant of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, one of the great European powers of the 17th century. It will also reveal the vagaries of the artist’s personal life, including the painful loss of loved ones and the serious financial difficulties that darkened his final years.

Other artists and a Québec touch round out the exhibition

The exhibition will also display several works by other artists from whom Rembrandt drew inspiration and the work of some of his students and collaborators. Visitors can examine several posthumous printings of the master’s works and compare the original prints and the later versions.

What is more, several works by QuĂ©bec artists from the MNBAQ’s collections will round out the varied body of Dutch work, including engravings inspired by Rembrandt’s practice and Dutch art in the Golden Age from the standpoint of iconography and style or that illustrate the specific use of chiaroscuro.


The exhibition is curated by Peter van der Coelen, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and André Gilbert, Head of Exhibitions, MNBAQ.