9 November 2013 – 19 January 2014
Room for Improvement! Rembrandt and the Old Masters opens on 9 November in the museum’s new wing. More than a hundred and twenty prints will illustrate the way Rembrandt was inspired to emulate and improve upon the prints of illustrious predecessors and contemporaries in his own etchings. Hanging alongside Rembrandt’s etchings will be prints by ‘old’ masters like Albrecht Dürer, Lucas van Leyden, Annibale Carracci, Hendrick Goltzius, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacques Callot and Jan Lievens.
We know from the inventory of his property, drawn up when Rembrandt went bankrupt in 1656, that at a rough estimate he owned some 4,000 prints at the time. Among them were works by sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italian, German, Flemish, French and Dutch artists, so Rembrandt had the models he admired immediately to hand and was able to borrow motifs and compositions from them. He made a conscious effort to surpass his examples, clearly believing that there was plenty of room for improvement.