The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds
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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, 1634

Platte / Stein
261 x 219 mm
266 x 223 mm
Physical Description
Etching, etching needle and dry-point
Inventory Number
Object Number
5784 D
Ancient Holdings (Collections J. F. Städel or J. G. Grambs)
Can be presented in the study room of the Graphische Sammlung (special opening hours)


About the Work

As if at the centre of an explosion, the Angel of the Annunciation appears to the shepherds and their flocks on Christmas night. Panic breaks out, leading him to begin his tidings with the words “Fear not”. With this early “nocturne”, Rembrandt was demonstrating his mastery in the etching technique. He created a tonal spectrum displaying a myriad of finely orchestrated nuances between the deepest black and the most brilliant brightness; here etching is intended to attain the capabilities of painting. Beyond a body of water, the palely moonlit landscape in the background provides a setting for a group of shepherds at a campfire – that is to say the situation as it was in the foreground just a moment ago, before the angel’s appearance.

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