Self-portrait leaning on a stone sill 1639
etching, touched with black chalk
20.5 x 16.4 cm (plate) 20.8 x 16.6 cm (sheet)
Bartsch 21; Hind 168 I; Holl. 21 I
1st of 2 states
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
This exhibition has been scheduled to mark the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt’s birth, which falls on 15 July 2006. The exhibition pays tribute to Rembrandt, an artist of unequalled stature in the history of art who is renowned not only for his paintings but also for his prints and drawings.
The exhibition is structured around the NGV’s significant Rembrandt etching collection and will include some 100 etchings, these representing one-third of the artist’s total oeuvre in the medium. Complementing these works will be two NGV paintings: Portrait of a white-haired man by Rembrandt and the Portrait of Rembrandt produced in the artist’s studio; as well as our two drawings by Rembrandt (Sheet of Studies and Old man in a turban (Study for an Elder)). A further five etchings have been borrowed from a private collector to complement the NGV’s displays.
The exhibition traces the evolution of Rembrandt’s art over four decades through his print oeuvre. It spans the artist’s earliest period in Leiden from c1628, through to 1667 in Amsterdam when he painted the Portrait of a white-haired man just two years prior to his death. The show will be hung in a broadly chronological progression although the inclusion of various thematic groupings within this will detail the artist’s return to particular subjects at different stages of his career. These reveal the evolution of his style from an early robust naturalism to the breadth, simplicity and meditative beauty of his later works. The artist’s increased focus on distilling the psychological intensity of his subjects is also featured in this exhibition. The thematic groupings cover all of the main genres for which Rembrandt is known: self-portraiture, portraiture, biblical scenes, scenes from everyday life, landscape and nudes.
The exhibition includes Rembrandt’s most renowned prints in breathtaking impressions which allow audiences to fully appreciate the artist’s extraordinary vision and his exceptional and experimental technique.