Rembrandt: Etchings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

November 18, 2023–February 19, 2024

Upper Frances L. Hiatt Gallery (215)

A guest viewing three works in the 'Rembrandt' exhibition

Discover the life and self-taught skill of the Dutch artist, Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), through his etchings. Rembrandt: Etchings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen features over 80 works, including 70 etchings by the artist, alongside works from those who inspired and were inspired by him. This exhibition comes to Worcester from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and is among the largest exhibitions of the artist’s etchings to ever be shown in the United States.

Rembrandt is perhaps the most recognizable name among 17th-century Dutch artists. Born in 1606 in Leiden, The Netherlands, he quickly emerged as a leading artist during the height of Dutch painting and created over 300 etchings. Throughout his career, he was driven by the ambition to be counted among the great graphic artists of the past, such as Albrecht Dürer and Lucas van Leyden, and compete with contemporary luminaries like Peter Paul Rubens. Rembrandt’s experimentation with etching and his ability to create depth and darkness ultimately reinvented the medium. Due to the ease of prints to be reproduced and distributed, his etchings were dispersed to a larger audience than his paintings or drawings, allowing him to gain popularity during his lifetime. His etchings exhibited an exceptional level of detail and technical precision, captivating viewers with their intricate lines and exquisite compositions.

Organized into five sections, the exhibition offers a view into the artist’s life and methods, including a deeper understanding of printmaking during the 17th century. The first section introduces Rembrandt’s development as an etcher and highlights from his career. The second and third sections examines the technical process of etching and printing and how Rembrandt would change the medium through his experimentation. The fourth and final section looks at those who inspired his work, the artists who came before him, as well as the subjects he chose for his etchings. These include self-portraits, ‘tronies’ (head studies) and sketches, biblical and religious figures, everyday life (genre), and landscapes.

Rembrandt: Etchings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen was organized by Peter van der Coelen, Curator of Prints and Drawings for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, and by Claire Whitner, the Museum’s Director of Curatorial Affairs and James A. Welu Curator of European Art, for the exhibition’s Worcester presentation. The exhibition will continue its international tour and travel to Quebec following its global debut at the Worcester Art Museum.

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Rembrandt: Etchings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has been made possible through the generous loan of artworks by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The exhibition is generously supported by the Fletcher Foundation. It is also funded in part by the Ruth and John Adam, Jr. Exhibition Fund, Richard A. Heald Curatorial Fund, the Christian A. Johnson Exhibition Fund, Michie Family Curatorial Fund, Bernard and Louise Palitz Fund, and WAM Exhibition Fund. Related programming is supported by the Schwartz Charitable Foundation and Spear Fund for Public Programs. Sponsored by: Patrick Motor Group. Media partner: GBH.


  • Preview the exhibition with curators Peter van der Coelen and Claire Whitner as they share two of their personal favorite etchings by Rembrandt.
  • How did Rembrandt create his drypoints? Watch the process from start to finish and learn about the tools and techniques used.
  • Rembrandt has inspired generations of artists, but who inspired him? Find out with exhibition co-curator Claire Whitner, as she shares fascinating examples of influence from Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) and Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640).
  • Rembrandt left behind an autobiographical record through his many self-portraits, four of which are on view in the exhibition. Watch along with Curatorial Assistant Delaney Keenan as she shares Rembrandt’s story through his portraits (and collection of hats!).

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