CORNELIS CLAESZ ANSLO, PREACHER

Rembrandt Van Rijn
CORNELIS CLAESZ ANSLO, PREACHER
Etching
1641

An original Rembrandt Van Rijn Etching.

1641

Original etching and drypoint printed in black ink on tissue-weight laid Japan paper.

Signed and dated in the plate on the dark tablet at the right Rembrandt f. 1641.

A dark and richly printed 18th century impression of Bartsch’s second and final state, Usticke’s fourth state of six, New Hollstein’s fourth state of five. Printed after the margin at the lower edge of the plate was burnished blank again to simulate the first state by Capt. William Baillie circa 1792. A rare impression of this scarce etching (characterized by G.W. Nowell-Usticke in his 1967 catalogue Rembrandt’s Etchings: States and Values, as “a scarce portrait,” and assigned his scarcity rating of “R” [75-125 impressions extant in 1967]), with inky plate edges at the top and left.

Catalog: Bartsch 271 ii/ii; Hind 187; Biorklund-Barnard 41-I; Usticke 271 iv/vi; New Hollstein 197 iv/v.

Size: 6 7/8 x 6 1/8 inches


Cornelis Claesz Anslo (1592-1646) was the preacher of the Mennonite community of the Waterlanders of Amsterdam.  He wrote various theological works in which he defended Mennonite orthodoxy against the attacks of the Socinians.  The same year as the completion of this plate, Rembrandt painted a portrait of Anslo with a woman who is probably his wife. 
Rembrandt makes reference to the sitter’s occupation in the manner of his representation.  Anslo hold an upturned book in his right hand, with a pen hel between the fingers, and, with his other hand outstretched in an oratorical gesture, explains a passage from the Bible.
The addition to the etching of the framed picture which has been taken down from its nail and turned to face the wall had a symbolic purpose, alluding to the Protestant belief that salvation can only be communicated through the word, thus denying the role accorded the image by Catholics.  A similar theme in a different context is echoed in the poem probably composed for this print by Vondel, which although never inscribed on the plate, was written in manuscript on several impressions: “On Cornelis Anslo / O Rembrandt, paint Cornelis voice! / His outward appearance is the least of him. / What is invisible, one can only learn by ear; / He who wants to see Anslo must hear him”.

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