Before Rembrandt’s time, etching was seen as an inexpensive alternative to engraving and a means of working quickly, if not very precisely.
Rembrandt, however, discovered much more in the process – with regard not only to its technical and artistic possibilities, but also to the market opportunities for small, highly expressive works. This is the last etching by his own hand in which he depicted himself. Rembrandt’s mastery reveals itself here in the combination of the etching technique and drypoint – a wonderful image which depicts the artist at work. A mysterious earnestness fills his face, which emerges out of the black of the background.
Photo: Städel Museum – U. Edelmann – ARTOTHEK