CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Rembrandt: Etchings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

18 November 2023 - 19 February 2024

Rembrandt: Etchings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Exhibition: 18 November 2023 - 19 February 2024

Discover the life and self-taught skill of the Dutch artist, Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), through his etchings. Rembrandt: Etchings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen features over 80 works, including 70 etchings by the artist, alongside works from those who inspired and were inspired by him. This exhibition comes to Worcester from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and is among the largest exhibitions of the artist’s etchings to ever be shown in the United States.

Rembrandt is perhaps the most recognizable name among seventeenth-century Dutch artists. Born in 1606 in Leiden, The Netherlands, he quickly emerged as a leading artist during the height of Dutch painting and created over 300 etchings. Throughout his career, he was driven by the ambition to be counted among the great graphic artists of the past, such as Albrecht Dürer and Lucas van Leyden, and compete with contemporary luminaries like Peter Paul Rubens. Rembrandt’s experimentation with etching and his ability to create depth and darkness ultimately reinvented the medium. Due to the ease of prints to be reproduced and distributed, his etchings were dispersed to a larger audience than his paintings or drawings, allowing him to gain popularity during his lifetime. His etchings exhibited an exceptional level of detail and technical precision, captivating viewers with their intricate lines and exquisite compositions.

Organized into five sections, the exhibition offers a view into the artist’s life and methods, including a deeper understanding of printmaking during the seventeenth century. The first section introduces Rembrandt’s development as an etcher and highlights from his career. The second and third sections examines the technical process of etching and printing and how Rembrandt would change the medium through his experimentation. The fourth and final sections look at those who inspired his work, the artists who came before him, as well as the subjects he chose for his etchings. These include self-portraits, ‘tronies’ (head studies) and sketches, biblical and religious figures, everyday life (genre), and landscapes.

Rembrandt: Etchings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen was organized by Peter van der Coelen, Curator of Prints and Drawings for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, and by Claire Whitner, the Museum’s Director of Curatorial Affairs and James A. Welu Curator of European Art, for the exhibition’s Worcester presentation. The exhibition will continue its international tour and travel to Quebec following its global debut at the Worcester Art Museum.