Rembrandt's print 'Christ Crucified Between Two Thieves: an oval plate' is one of the most captivating of the artist's oeuvre. Etched to an oval rather than a rectangular plate and then enhanced with drypoint, the composition shows Christ at the center, illuminated from above as though he himself is the light illuminating the scene. He is flanked on either side by the two thieves, and below groups of huddled figures mourn and observe. The print is noted for its especially intricate iconography, and may represent the exact moment of Christ's death. Rembrandt may have been inspired by the text from Matthew 27:46-54 when Christ cried out, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Rembrandt drew heavily on biblical sources in his work, as well as being influenced by other Baroque contemporaries. The nature of the media meant it was possible for Rembrandt to make continuous alterations (which he did over a several-year period), adding further etching and dry points, changing the composition of the picture, and making the final image darker and more chaotic.
etching and drypoint in black on cream laid paper; third state of three
posthumous impression ca. 1820
5.25 x 3.75 inches, plate
15.75 x 14.5 inches, frame
Overall good condition; some wrinkles in upper corners; some light discoloration and foxing
Presented in a gold-finish wood frame and mounted to 100% rag cream matboard and protected behind glass; framed to conservation standards using archival materials.
Ref: Bartsch 79 i/ii; Hind 173; Biorklund-Barnard 41-2; Usticke 79 i/iii; New Hollstein 196 i/iii.