The Persian

Rembrandt Van Rijn
The Persian
etching
1632

An original Rembrandt Van Rijn etching.

1632

Original etching printed in black ink on laid paper.

Signed with the artist’s monogram and dated in the plate lower center RHL 1632 (the last two numerals reversed).

A superb 17th century/lifetime impression of Bartsch and Biörklund-Barnard’s only state, Usticke’s first state of four, New Hollstein’s first state of three, printed prior to the right-hand outline of the cane being strengthened with two short contiguous burin strokes from the right hand (characterized by G.W. Nowell-Usticke in his 1967 catalogue Rembrandt’s Etchings: States and Values as “a rather uncommon print”), with inky plate edges and showing the faint horizontal scratches above the plume characteristic of early impressions.

Catalog: Bartsch 152; Hind 93; Biorklund-Barnard 32-A; Usticke 152 i/iv; New Hollstein 110 i/iii.

As early as 1731 this print was known as ‘her persiaantje’ (the little Persian). Twenty years later Gersaint was apparently unaware of this tradition, as was noted in a correction by Pieter Yver. Since Daulby’s 1796 catalogue the etching has invariably been called ‘The Persian’. The man has an untrimmed beard and a fur hat with a feather on his head, and wears a fur-trimmed cloak over his shoulders. A coat of embroidered fabric can be seen underneath, over which the man wears a medallion on a chain. With one hand he leans elegantly on a stick, while the other rests on his hip under his cloak. Rembrandt’s work at this time shows a great deal of figures in exotic garb. Slatkes wondered to what extent the attire shown here stemmed from the Near East or from the artist’s imagination; a question that has still not been resolved.