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The Persian

Rembrandt Van Rijn
The Persian

An original Rembrandt Van Rijn etching.


Original etching printed in black ink on laid paper bearing a portion of a “Foolscap with seven-pointed collar” watermark

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 impresions.

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 waers 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.

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