Rembrandt (Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn)

The Three Crosses ('Christ Crucified between the Two Thieves')

About this artwork

This print represents the climax of Rembrandt’s career as a printmaker. It is produced entirely in drypoint and is his largest etching. This is the fourth state, and shows the moment of Christ’s death on the cross. In earlier states the scene is one of total chaos, with the cross surrounded by jostling crowds and grieving family and friends. Here, Rembrandt altered the composition by darkening and obscuring the crowd so that the central focus is Christ on the cross. Rembrandt cast a dark light over the scene by working over the entire plate with hatched lines. This gloomy atmosphere recalls the darkness described in the gospel and also symbolises the ignorance and lack of wisdom surrounding the crucifixion.

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Rembrandt (Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn)

Rembrandt (Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn)