Rembrandt – the undisputed master of etching – stands at the centre of this exhibition of 17th-century Dutch etchings from Te Papa’s collection. Also on display are works by other experts in this demanding medium.
The works range from sensitive portraits to sweeping landscapes, from Biblical stories to everyday scenes. Together, they give insights into the artists’ lives, and the ideas and attitudes of the time.
The 17th century was the golden age of art in the Netherlands. Commerce had created enormous wealth, and the country had the highest living standards, and probably the best education, in Europe.
This environment prompted a proliferation of paintings, drawings, and prints for a public eager to buy. Portraits, landscapes, and scenes of daily life appeared everywhere – in butchers’ and bakers’ shops and in ordinary houses. People could buy artworks at public sales and fairs, and win them in lotteries. They could even use them to pay bills.
Etching became a major medium for picture-making, and Rembrandt (1606–69) was the undoubted master. In his hands, etching became a fully-fledged art form. Many other artists also produced etched versions of popular images of the time.
Following on from the North Island tour of Drawn from Italy: Mantegna to Kauffman, and the South Island tour of Painting the View: Constable, Turner, and British Watercolourists 1760–1860, Te Papa is proud to present this selection of 27 works for tour to North Island venues.
This exhibition has now closed.