Christ Crucified Between the Two Thieves: 'The Three Crosses'

Christ Crucified Between the Two Thieves: 'The Three Crosses'

1653- c.1660

Rembrandt van Rijn

(Dutch, 1606-1669)

Drypoint

Support: Laid paper

Sheet: 37.5 x 44 cm (14 3/4 x 17 5/16 in.)

Bequest of Ralph King and Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1959.241

Catalogue raisonné: Hollstein 78 (XVIII.43)

State: iv/v

Description

Like Christ Presented to the People, Rembrandt’s Christ Crucified Between the Two Thieves is also executed entirely in drypoint. Because of the delicacy of the technique, the copper plate was worn after the artist printed about 40 impressions of the first three states. In order to continue using the plate, Rembrandt reworked it, changing the image somewhat. In the fourth state, slashing strokes obscure the spectators visible in the earlier version, creating a tenebrous setting that focuses attention on Christ bathed in celestial light. Although drypoint is an inherently linear medium, Rembrandt used it to obtain tonal qualities associated with painting. The blackness becomes an active force that threatens to extinguish the light of Christ—a literal illustration of the Evangelist Luke’s description of the event that brought "a darkness over all the earth."

See also
Collection: 
PR - Drypoint
Department: 
Prints
Type of artwork: 
Print
Medium: 
Drypoint

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