Artist Drawing from a Model
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Artist Drawing from a Model about 1639
This print appears to be less than half complete; the foreground of the composition is only loosely sketched in drypoint, while the background has been more heavily worked. The surviving copper plate verifies that the composition was never developed beyond this stage. It has been suggested that Rembrandt died before he managed to finish the etching, or that he deliberately left it unfinished as a means of illustrating his technique for the instruction of his pupils. The print shows an artist drawing in his workshop. The subject and the incomplete state of the print come together to present an allegory of art and a celebration of the act of rendering.

Glossary Open

Allegory

Where the ‘story’ of a work has a deeper underlying meaning – often used for the representation of grand, abstract ideas.

Composition

The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.

Copper plate

A sheet of metal plate used for printmaking or an impression made from it. In the 17th century, it was used as a support for small detailed oil paintings.

Drypoint

A printmaking technique that uses a needle to etch an image directly onto a copper plate. The resulting raised surface, or burr, which holds the ink used in the printmaking process produces a soft, velvety effect.

Etching

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.

Allegory, Composition, Copper plate, Drypoint, Etching

Details

  • Acc. No. REMBRANDT.78
  • Medium Etching, drypoint and burin on paper
  • Size 23.20 x 18.40 cm
  • Credit Sir David Young Cameron Gift 1943 through the Art Fund