From the Morgan Library & Museum, 11 March 2016
Completed when he was just twenty-three years old, Rembrandt’s Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver has long been recognized as the artist’s first mature work—his first masterpiece. The painting demonstrates the characteristics that would make Rembrandt famous: his unique use of chiaroscuro, a rhythmic harmony of composition, and his ability to convey the exceptional emotional drama of a scene. Held by a British private collection, this magnificent work will be shown in the United States for the very first time at the Morgan.
The Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver is also one of Rembrandt’s only works for which multiple preparatory drawings survive, allowing us to trace the evolution of the composition. By reuniting the painting and the drawings for the first time since their creation, the exhibition presents the unprecedented opportunity to take a glimpse over Rembrandt’s shoulder as he developed his first major work. Also on view will be a number of early self-portraits that show the young Rembrandt at the time he painted the panel, and some two dozen etchings and drawings of scenes from the life of Christ that illustrate the development of Rembrandt’s narrative style. In addition to works from the Morgan’s own famous collection of Rembrandt’s prints and drawings, the exhibition features loans from international collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the British Museum, London; the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; and the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin.