CHRIST CRUCIFIED BETWEEN THE TWO THEIVES: AN OVAL PLATE

Rembrandt Van Rijn
CHRIST CRUCIFIED BETWEEN THE TWO THEIVES: AN OVAL PLATE
etching
c. 1641

An original Rembrandt Van Rijn etching.

c. 1641

Original etching and drypoint printed in black ink on laid paper bearing a portion of a “Foolscap with Five-Pointed Collar” watermark (Ash/Fletcher 19)

A superb 17th century/lifetime impression of Bartsch’s first state of two, Usticke and New Hollstein’s first state of three (characterized by G.W. Nowell-Usticke in his 1967 catalogye Rembrandt Etchings: States and Values, as “an uncommon print”), printed prior to the appearance of the two dots upper center just below the platemark and before the tip of the left arm of the nearest cross was rounded.

Catalog: Bartsch 79 i/ii; Hind 173; Biorklund-Barnard 41-2; Usticke 79 i/iii; New Hollstein 196 i/iii.

We cannot say for certain exactly which moment from the strory of Christ on the cross is portrayed here, or which gospel this is based on.  It is often supposed that it is Christ’s conversation with the two murderers who were crucified with him as described by St. Luke.  One of the two mocked Jesus, the other confessed his guilt, and was forgiven by Jesus (Luke 23:39-43).  Luke, however, makes no reference to the three Marys, who weep at the foot of the cross; they are only mentioned by St. John (John: 19:18-30).

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