Featuring over 80 Works on Paper by the Dutch Artist and His Contemporaries and Several Prints from the Worcester Art Museum’s Collection
Worcester MA – August 29, 2023 – This fall, the Worcester Art Museum will present Rembrandt: Etchings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, featuring over 80 works, including 70 etchings by the Dutch artist, Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), alongside works from those who inspired and were inspired by him. This exhibition comes to Worcester from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and will be among the largest exhibitions of the artist’s etchings to ever be shown in the United States. The exhibition will explore the life and self-taught skill of Rembrandt through his etchings and is an opportunity to observe the artist’s process. The exhibition will open at the Worcester Art Museum on November 18, 2023 and run through February 19, 2024. It 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.
“This exhibition is a rare opportunity for visitors to experience Rembrandt’s remarkable talent as a genius of etching and to see also the works of those who inspired him such as Albrecht Dürer and Peter Paul Rubens.” said Matthias Waschek, the Jean and Myles McDonough Director of the Worcester Art Museum. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with the distinguished Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, to bring these impressive works of art, which have never travelled as a group of this size, to American audiences.”
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.
The exhibition will feature works such as “Landscape with Three Gabled Cottages Beside a Road,” which transports viewers to the serene Dutch countryside through its expertly rendered shading and perspective. Another highlight is “The Three Crosses,” one of Rembrandt’s most experimental works. The etching depicts the crucifixion scene with a remarkable interplay of light and shadow exemplifying his skills as a visual narrator.
The exhibition showcases over 80 works, among these are superb impressions of 70 of Rembrandt’s finest prints, as well as works by artists he aspired to, such as Albrecht Dürer. It will be organized into five sections and will offer a view into his life and methods, including a deeper understanding of printmaking during the 17th century. The first section will introduce Rembrandt’s development as an etcher and highlights from his career. The second and third sections will examine the technical process of etching and printing and how Rembrandt would change the medium through his experimentation. The fourth and final sections will look at those who inspired his work, the masters that came before, as well as the subjects he chose for his etchings. These will include self-portraits, ‘tronies’ (head studies) and sketches, biblical and religious figures, everyday life (genre), and landscapes.
The exhibition will continue its international tour and travel to Quebec following its global debut at the Worcester Art Museum.
About Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen was founded in 1849 and is located in the heart of the city of Rotterdam. Its collection consists of over 150,000 artworks and contains pieces from 1350 up to now. This wide range of time and the diversity in disciplines makes it unique within the Netherlands. In November 2021 the museum opened the first fully accessible art depot in the world.
About the Worcester Art Museum
The Worcester Art Museum creates transformative programs and exhibitions, drawing on its exceptional collection of art. Dating from 3000 BCE to the present, these works provide the foundation for a focus on audience engagement, connecting visitors of all ages and abilities with inspiring art and demonstrating its enduring relevance to daily life. Creative initiatives— including pioneering collaborative programs with local schools, fresh approaches to exhibition design and in-gallery teaching, and a long history of studio class instruction—offer opportunities for diverse audiences to experience art and learn both from and with artists.
The Worcester Art Museum, located at 55 Salisbury Street in Worcester, MA, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 4pm. For more information, visit worcesterart.org.
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Rembrandt van Rijn, The Three Crosses, 1653, drypoint, 384 x 451 mm, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Rembrandt van Rijn, St. Jerome Beside a Pollard Willow, 1648, etching and drypoint, 177 x 132 mm, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen