21 Nov 2017

Lines of Inquiry: Learning from Rembrandt's Etchings

Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

Reviewed by Arthur Whitman

Rembrandt's etchings are in the Johnson's blood. "Lines of Inquiry," the museum's largest such exhibit yet, corrals landscape, portraits, and narrative scenes high and low. With extensive loans, viewers can compare versions of key works, revealing sometimes dramatic alterations between states as well as variations of inking and paper.

Self-portraits show capacious reinvention while images of notables like writer-collector Jan Six display a disarming naturalism of surface and gesture. Four versions of Clement de Jonghe, Printseller (1651) demand perlustration as quiet detail accumulates.

Embodying complex humanism and bravura experiment, Rembrandt's Bible scenes stand out. The Flight into Egypt (1652) famously reworks a plate from Hercules Segers, preserving the older artist's spongiform landscape. Chiaroscuro becomes dramatic actor in The Three Crosses (1653). Similarly, a foreground crowd is effaced while shadows deepen between two states of Christ Presented to the People (1655).

Exhibition Lines of Inquiry: Learning from Rembrandt's Etchings link
Start date 23 Nov 2017 (18 days ago)
End date 17 Dec 2017 (in 6 days)
Presenter Johnson Museum of Art link
Venue Cornell University, 114 Central Avenue, Ithaca, NY, USA map
Image Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Jan Six, 1647, etching, engraving, and drypoint, collection of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, courtesy of the Johnson Museum of Art
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