Abraham Caressing (Isaac) Benjamin
c. 1780s. van Rijn, Rembrandt. No binding. Single etching printed to recto only, plate margins: about 4.5" by 3.5" Near fine. Item #18032510
A late 18th-century restrike, likely by Claude-Henri Watelet (1718-1786) of Dutch master, Rembrandt van Rijn's (1606-1669) etching, "Abraham Caressing (Isaac) Benjamin". While producing a body of work that continues to be treasured 400 years after his lifetime, Rembrandt experienced a great deal of loss in his personal life, losing three children in infancy and his beloved wife, Saskia, after the birth of their fourth child - the only one to survive to adulthood. The look of quiet sadness in this etching on the face of Abraham perhaps echoes some of that loss experienced by Rembrandt, while the face of the child shows only joy at being so closely held by his father.
Rembrandt's work varies greatly, an aspect that sets him apart from many of his contemporaries. His work included biblical scenes, such as that seen in this work, but was not limited in that respect. He worked in portraits, including what were considered remarkably sincere self-portraits, landscapes, nudes, animals, still-life, and mythological scenes, in a variety of mediums. He was producing during an important period in the Netherlands, a wealthy, cultural high-point, known as the Dutch Golden Age. The innovations of this period, with a strong contribution from Rembrandt himself, paved the way for many of the important movements that followed.
Rembrandt produced etching for almost his entire career, until he was forced for economic reasons to sell his press. His etchings, more so than his paintings were responsible for much of his success during his lifetime. During his lifetime, Rembrandt made hundreds of impressions from nearly 300 plates, and about 80 plates still exist today. As a result, the plates were used to make impressions for centuries after Rembrandt's death; what is remarkable about this particular example is that the margins are relatively complete, whereas most Rembrandt etchings are found with margins trimmed, often right up to the plate mark. Dating and authenticating plates is often a complicated process; this impression has been appraised and dated by a professional, with a copy of the appraisal summary available upon request.
__CONDITION: This is a near fine example, bright and clean, slight age-toning/soiling to outer margins (which can be professionally cleaned), small contemporaneous pencil annotation to lower margin, the impression is rich and clear; near fine overall.
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