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Rembrandt and His Etchings   By:

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[No. 168. Rembrandt Leaning on a Stone Sill]

No. 168. Rembrandt Leaning on a Stone Sill

Rembrandt and His Etchings

A Compact Record of the Artist's Life, his Work and his Time. With the Complete Chronological List of his Etchings Compiled by A. M. Hind, of the British Museum

Louis A. Holman

Charles E. Goodspeed & Co., Boston 1921




No. 168. Rembrandt Leaning on a Stone Sill No. 116. Two Tramps. No. 1. Rembrandt's Mother. No. 210. Omval. No. 290. Jan Lutma, Goldsmith and Sculptor. No. 183. Jacob and Laban (?). No. 228. Jan Six. Tobias and the Angel. By Hercules Seghers (No. 266). The Flight into Egypt. No. 129. Old Woman Sleeping.


[No. 116. Two Tramps.]

No. 116. Two Tramps.

"A fair & bewtiful citie, and of sweete situation" and famous for "ye universitie wherwith it is adorned;" such was Leyden as the fresh eyes of the youthful William Bradford saw it when the little company of English exiles, later revered as the Pilgrim Fathers, sought asylum in Holland. The fame of Leyden was to be further perpetuated, although Bradford knew it not, by one who had but just been born there when the English pilgrims came to the friendly university town; one who has added to the fame of his native place chiefly because he did not attend that university, which seemed so attractive to young Bradford. The father of this boy determined that he should have a collegiate education that he might sometime hold a town office, and fondly hoped that he was preparing him for it (in, perhaps, the very schools attended by the English children), when the lad made it clear to all men that he had no head for Latin and a very decided talent for drawing. So it came to pass that at the time Bradford and his friends set their faces toward America, and per force turned their backs upon that "goodly & pleasante citie which had been ther resting place near twelve years," Rembrandt Harmens van Rijn, the youngest son of a miller of Leyden, turned his face, too, from the old toward the new. They sought liberty to live and to worship according to the bright light in their hearts: he, too, sought liberty to follow in a no less divinely appointed path, impelled thereto by an irresistible force which, after half a century, retained all its early vigor. They broke from the ways of their fathers and bore an important part in the development of the great American nation; he emancipated himself and his art from the thraldom of tradition and conventionality and became the first of the great modern masters of art.

The twelve years' truce between the humiliated Dons and the stocky Dutchmen was now nearing its end, and Bradford says, "There was nothing but beating of drumes, and preparing for warr." This was one of the reasons why the peaceable Pilgrims sought a new home beyond the sea. But Rembrandt, already absorbed in his art studies, saw nothing, heard nothing of these preparations; his ears were deaf to the drum beats, his eyes were seeing better things than the "pride, pomp and circumstances of glorious war". There can be no question about his utter lack of interest in things military. When, at long intervals, he tried war subjects (as most men sooner or later try their hand at the thing they are least fitted for) he failed pitifully. He could create a masterpiece of a "Man in Armor," or a "Night Watch," where the problems were purely artistic, and swords and flags were simply bits of fine color, but the painting or etching that breathed the actual spirit of war he could not produce. There is matter here for rejoicing. War and her heroes have had their full quota of the great artists to exalt their work. And now comes one who loved the paths of peace... Continue reading book >>

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