The exhibition follows the evolution of Rembrandt’s work from his early years in Leiden within the 1620s via to his last years in Amsterdam within the 1660s. This important breadth of labor permits audiences to understand the ingenious methods during which Rembrandt approached his subject material, his good re-imagining of biblical topics, his profoundly expressive fashion, and the event of psychological complexity in narrative scenes and portraits.
The centrepiece of the exhibition is Rembrandt’s printmaking. Rembrandt was the primary artist to comprehensively discover the probabilities of etching and it’s via his prints that audiences can totally recognize the breadth and depth of his work.
The exhibition contextualises Rembrandt’s prints via vital loans from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Nationwide Gallery of Artwork in Washington DC, the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, and the Teylers Museum in Haarlem. Displayed in thematic teams of portraits, non secular motifs, landscapes, nudes, and scenes of on a regular basis life, the prints and work inform the story of a outstanding artist and his inventive expertise.
One of many highlights is the enduring portray, Self-Portrait, 1659, which comes solely to Melbourne from the Nationwide Gallery of Artwork in Washington DC. Painted three years after Rembrandt declared chapter, the portray exhibits the artist on the age of fifty-three. At this tough time in Rembrandt’s life, he depicts himself with unrelenting honesty and profound psychological perception. All through his life Rembrandt made round eighty self-portraits, and ten of his etched self-portraits are proven all through the exhibition, tracing the artist’s self-image over a thirty-year interval, culminating on this masterpiece of Rembrandt’s expressive late portray fashion.
One other part of the exhibition examines the nude, the examine of which was a part of each artist’s coaching through the interval. Rembrandt didn’t idealise figures based on classical proportions; as an alternative, he positioned main significance on working naer het leven (from life).
Within the etching Diana on the tub, c. 1631, he challenges the traditional illustration of mythological goddesses. On this work, Diana, goddess of the hunt, shouldn’t be a distant classical magnificence, however an unidealised determine drawn from on a regular basis life. A later critic described Rembrandt as ‘the primary heretic of artwork’ due to his uncompromising realism.
The exhibition additionally options Rembrandt’s landscapes. His means to seize the transitory qualities of sunshine and air is unprecedented within the medium of etching.
The three timber, 1643, is Rembrandt’s largest and most evocative panorama etching. The sky, with its massed clouds, diagonal passages of rain and bursts of sunshine, creates a way of drama. The heroic presence of the three timber carries ethical overtones, and an analogy has been drawn with the three crosses of Calvary, the place Christ was crucified between the 2 thieves.
The Hundred Guilder Print, c. 1648, is certainly one of Rembrandt’s finest recognized and most bold etchings. It combines a number of passages from the Gospel of St Matthew, bringing collectively a various group of people that collect round Christ, together with the wealthy and the poor, younger and previous. The work is a technical masterpiece in its detailed rendering of figures, house and ambiance. It’s the fruits of the artist’s longstanding fascination with mild and shade, which he explored in print and paint. In 1649, an impression of the print was offered for the exorbitant sum of 100 guilders, the worth of a high quality portray, which gave the etching its identify.
The exhibition contains Rembrandt’s two largest prints,
The three crosses, 1653, and
Christ introduced to the individuals: rectangular plate, 1655 – every of those is introduced in two completely different ‘states’. Rembrandt made steady changes to take this picture via quite a few ‘states’ or adjustments. These works have been fully reworked within the course of, as Rembrandt added new parts that give the later impressions a special emphasis and temper. Seeing early and late states of those large-scale works facet by facet exhibits the artist’s ambition and his stressed inventive spirit.
The exhibition additionally encompasses a small recreation of the artist’s Wunderkammer – or cupboard of curiosities – impressed by Rembrandt’s personal assortment of prints and drawings, shells and uncommon pure objects, musical devices, weapons and unique artefacts. Rembrandt typically drew inventive and creative inspiration from the gadgets in his assortment, particularly for his biblical topics, that are set in far-away locations. Drawn from the NGV Assortment, in addition to the Melbourne Museum and the State Library of Victoria, the objects symbolize the unique imports and luxurious gadgets that have been traded in Amsterdam through the mid-seventeenth century.
Throughout the exhibition, the NGV will search to deepen its acclaimed Rembrandt assortment via an attraction to amass the vital print Abraham Francen, Apothecary c. 1657. The work is an etched portrait from late within the artist’s profession of his shut good friend Abraham Francen, a stalwart supporter of Rembrandt throughout his monetary difficulties. Francen was additionally a passionate collector, like Rembrandt, and is proven in his chamber surrounded by objects in his assortment. This etching supplies a uncommon glimpse into the surroundings of the cultivated collector in seventeenth century Amsterdam. The work can even be included within the exhibition.
As a part of the NGV Students Sequence, an unique discuss by world-leading Dutch artwork knowledgeable Dr Marjorie E. (Betsy) Wieseman, Curator and Head of the Division of Northern European Work on the Nationwide Gallery of Artwork, Washington, D.C. shall be held on 31 July. Dr Wieseman will use examples from the NGV’s intensive holdings of Rembrandt work to contextualise the newest scholarship on the seventeenth-century Dutch grasp.
Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV, mentioned: ‘The NGV is residence to a very powerful assortment of works by Rembrandt within the Southern Hemisphere and this NGV-exclusive exhibition celebrates certainly one of our main strengths: our excellent print assortment. Rembrandt was a grasp printmaker and his experimentation within the medium reveals his insatiable curiosity and sheer versatility as an artist.’