Rembrandt has always fascinated us—not just in this Rembrandt Year, 350 years after his death, but down through the centuries. Rembrandt’s etchings have motivated artists in all kinds of ways. Our exhibition Inspired by Rembrandt – on view from 7 June until 1 September 2019– explores his impact on their art.
This time we have dipped into our own collection, for the museum is not just his former home and workshop. For more than a hundred years it has also been collecting art on paper—the collection now contains more than 4,000 prints. And not just Rembrandts, but art by his followers—from his own time and contemporary artists. The exhibition is composed of eight stimulating themes; on our blog we’ll highlight each of the them individually.
This time: ‘Nature’.
Just a small etching of a shell, but the most copied of all Rembrandt’s etchings. See how accurately the Conus Marmoreus has been depicted. Form, drawing, lighting. Rembrandt rarely worked so precisely. This sort of simplicity struck a chord in the twentieth century. Artists throughout Europe, like Erik Desmazières, Gérard de Palézieux, Jacob Demus and Charles Donker, copied the ‘Rembrandt Shell’. They also drew insects, flowers, seeds and dead animals. These concentrated observations reveal a great love of nature.
Charles Donker, Dead Woodcock, 1975, The Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam. | Rembrandt, The Shell (Conus Marmoreus), 1650, The Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam