CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Sordid and sacred: the beggars in Rembrandt’s etchings

Exhibition: 5 March - 30 April 2009

From the museum website, 21 July 2009

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt’s birth, the Museum presents this exhibition of 35 of the artist’s remarkable etchings. The show will focus on Rembrandt’s longstanding interest in portraying peasants, particularly beggars. Whereas most of these evocative images express aspects of everyday life in 17th-century Holland, a few of Rembrandt’s beggars appear as participants in biblical narratives. Click here to listen to the podcast “Cultural Coversations,” which features curator Dennis P. Weller discussing the exhibition.


Sordid and Sacred includes 35 prints made from copper plate etchings, which date between 1629 and 1654. With 35 works on display, viewers will have the opportunity to see how Rembrandt experimented with inks, paper, and the reworking of the copper plates to enhance the visual impact of the imagery. As the title suggests, the exhibition is dedicated to Rembrandt’s images of beggars.