The Shell, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
The Shell
DE
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Platte / Stein
98 x 131 mm
Blatt
110 x 146 mm
Inventory Number
5905 D
Acquisition
Ancient Holdings (Collections J. F. Städel or J. G. Grambs)
Status
Can be presented in the study room of the Graphische Sammlung (special opening hours)

Texts

About the Work

Contrary to what we are told by the traditional title, this rare etching does not depict a shell but a conch which must have made its way to Amsterdam from Eastern Asia. Rembrandt had a collection of such exotica, which occasionally appear in still-life paintings of the seventeenth century as “artworks of nature”. Technically speaking, Rembrandt’s manner of proceeding in the execution of this print was unusual. He began by rendering the shell itself in drypoint; then he used the etching and engraving techniques to create the surrounding space. This explains why the surroundings appear a tiny bit duller than the deep-black drypoint work. The snail shell takes on a plasticity and brilliance that lend it a strangely intense presence.

Work Data

Basic Information

Title
The Shell
Artist
Period Produced
Object Type
Material
Technique
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert und datiert auf der Platte unten links: Rembrandt. f. 1650.
Work Catalogues
  • Bartsch 159, II/III

Property and Acquisition

Institution
Administration
Collection
Creditline
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
© Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Foto: U. Edelmann
Acquisition
Ancient Holdings (Collections J. F. Städel or J. G. Grambs)

Work Content

Motifs and References

Genre
Main Motif

Iconclass

Primary
Secondary
Associative

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Last update

24.11.2020