The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds

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The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds Dated 1634
This is Rembrandt’s first etched night scene. Produced at a relatively early period in his career, this would undoubtedly have been his most spectacular print to date. The scene depicts the angel appearing to the shepherds with news of Christ’s birth. The composition reflects the drama of the event, and draws on the theatrical swirling style of contemporary Baroque painting. The herdsmen and their animals scatter in terror at this apparition, and appear tiny in relation to the grandly conceived landscape.

Glossary Open


A general term for European art and architecture from the 17th to the mid 18th centuries. It particularly refers to works characterised by a sense of movement and theatricality.


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.


The printmaking technique in which an image is inscribed on a copper plate with a tool that cuts a groove in the surface. This groove holds the ink that creates the print when it is applied to paper. Also refers to the method of making an incision on a material such as glass.


A form of printmaking in which a metal plate is covered with a substance called a 'ground', usually wax, into which an image is drawn with a needle. Acid is applied, eroding the areas of the plate exposed but not the areas covered by wax. The action of the acid creates lines in the metal plate that hold the ink from which a print is made when the plate is pressed against paper under pressure.

Baroque, Composition, Engraving, Etching


  • Acc. No. REMBRANDT.16
  • Medium Etching, burin and drypoint on paper
  • Size 26.20 x 21.80 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1958