THE BLIND FIDDLER

Rembrandt Van Rijn
THE BLIND FIDDLER
etching
1631

An original Rembrandt Van Rijn etching.

1631

Original etching printed in black ink on laid paper

Signed with the artist’s monogram and dated in the plate in the title margin below the image RHL 1631

A superb 17th century/lifetime impression of Bartsch, Biorklund/Barnard and Usticke’s third and final state, New Hollstein’s eighth state of nine, of this rare etching (characterized by G.W. Nowell-Usticke in his 1967 catalogue Rembrandt’s Etchings: States and Values as “a scarce, delicate little print”, and assigned his scarcity rating of “R+” [75-125 impressions extant in that year]) printed after the removal of the triangular seam from the top of the figure’s right sleeve. 

Catalog: Bartsch 138 iii/iii; Hind 38; Biorklund-Barnard 31-A iii/iii; Usticke 138 iii/iii; New Hollstein 77 viii/ix.

Quite a few of Rembrandt’s early etchings represent beggars and street characters.  The direct inspiration for these works is surely Jacques Callot’s (French, 1592-1635) series of beggars of 1622, in its turn a reflection of Italian models.  Rembrandt’s earliest attempts in this genre tend to reflect the influence of Callot in technique as well as theme.  Very quickly, however, Rembrandt moved in the direction of greater detail, more nuanced characterization of materials and increased accent on chiaroscuro in the shadows.  In the years 1630-31 Rembrandt produced a rather large number of small study sheets of beggars, though the results cannot be considered a “series” like Callot’s.

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