Cover image for Rembrandt as an etcher : a study of the artist at work
Rembrandt as an etcher : a study of the artist at work
White, Christopher, 1930-
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xi, 284 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 32 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NE2165.R5 W4 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



To study Rembrandt's etchings one must do more that read dates and signatures, classify subject matter and enumerate states: one has to consider the whole man and his unique talent in the context of his life and milieu. This book surveys Rembrandt's prints both individually and J150505generally. Though an overall pattern in his work can be discovered, Rembrandt was essentially an artist of variety, and each print, at least in his maturity, represented a unique experience.

Rembrandt was one of the first artists to experiment with the media of etching and drypoint, submitting his plates to numerous reworkings, drawing on impressions, varying the inking of his plates and the papers, on which he printed. Detailed study reveals that in many cases the changes and variations he introduced provide a unique opportunity, not afforded by the paintings and drawings, of observing the artist at work.

Enthusiasm for Rembrandt's prints has not been confined to scholars. Even during the artist's lifetime and ever since,,there has hardly been a time when his prints were not sought after, collected and cherished somewhere. There are numerous catalogues raisonnes as well as catalogues of individual collections, and exhibitions, but little has been written that sets Rembrandt's prints in the context of his whole life and work. This book, first published thirty years ago, fills that gap, surveying Rembrandt's prints thematically and in comparison to his paintings and drawings. The new edition, which has been considerably revised and expanded to take account of recent research, is particularly informative about working methods and the techniques of printmaking.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

When the first edition of this book appeared in 1969, it rapidly became recognized as the authoritative guide to its subject; this new edition serves the same purpose. With numerous revisions, it has been updated to incorporate White's reconsiderations and also recent research on the copper plates and early collaboration with Van Vliet. White (former director, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK) fluently integrates technique, imagery, and interpretation. He selected prints that offer technical innovations, multiple states, and varied printings, and discusses them perceptively in terms of how they were made: engraving, etching, drypoint; inking, printing, and paper. The book is not, however, a catalogue raisonne (the first such complete catalog of Rembrandt's etchings appeared in 1751, and there have been 15 written since), and White has omitted those works in which he may have less interest, generally the more iconographically complex prints (for example, The Phoenix). The result is that his text is always engaging, and especially insightful concerning the New Testament, genre, nudes, portraits, and landscape etchings. All levels. A. Golahny; Lycoming College