Rembrandt: The Descent from the Cross – Second Plate

Referred to as the “second plate” because as Rembrandt scholar Christopher White states, “it was, however, on this plate that he met his one and only technical disaster in a medium in which he was to become supreme master.” On Rembrandt’s first attempt the acid failed to properly bite the plate.  After attempting to rework the plate it was eventually discarded.  On his second attempt Rembrandt created what may be his greatest etching. 

The large image (52.7 cm x 40.8 cm) depicts wealthy Joseph of Arimathea overseeing the removal of Christ’s lifeless body from the cross while onlookers observe in awe.  In this print the master illustrates one of the most powerful moments of the Bible with tremendous emotion. Rembrandt uses an amazing contrast of light and dark to illustrate heavenly beams shining upon Jesus, thus create a moving image. 

Created in 1633 the plate was signed and dated on the bottom, center below the print.

Rembrandt: 100 Guilder Print

Jesus Healing the Sick 100 Guilder Print

Most commonly known as the “100 Guilder Print” (c. 1649) and arguably one of Rembrandt’s most notable etchings, it is also referred to as “Jesus Healing the Sick” or “Christ Preaching” and occasionally “Jesus Calling the Little Children” (even though most in the print are not children). “100 guilder” is a reference to the story that Rembrandt paid 100 guilders, a large sum of money at that time, to buy back one of his own prints. According to a 2001 article in Forbes magazine, Rembrandt paid 9,000 guilders for his house in 1639.

The large (27.8cm x 38.8cm) and powerful image is an amalgamation of various stories from the Book of Matthew where we see Jesus addressing the Pharisees, healing the sick and caring for the poor, all with Peter closely observing.

Over 100 years after it was created, Irish art collector Captain William Baillie purchased and reworked the plate and sold several reworked images.  Baillie eventually cut the plate into four separate pieces in 1776 and sold the image in quarters, thus making original images from the plate as worked by Rembrandt substantial more valuable.