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Lot 2

REMBRANDT VAN RIJN (1606-1669) 'The Descent from the Cross'

second plate, etching and engraving, 1633, 51cm x 40cm

Condition Report: click here
Estimate: £8,000 - £12,000
Bidding ended. Lot is unsold.

The Descent from the Cross, dated 1633, is an etching from a series highlighting classic religious scenes, titled The Passion of Christ, commissioned by the secretary of the Prince of Orange, Constantijin Huygens.  It is believed that Rembrandt produced his version of this iconic scene in response to Peter Paul Rubens’ painting of the same scene from 1612–14.

In contrast to Rubens’ composition, Rembrandt allows this piece to be more responsive. He creates a genuine sense of suffering through the detailed expression on all of the figures’ visages causing viewers to feel a compelling involvement. From Christ’s pained expression to the way in which his body twists rather unsettlingly, this scene shies away from an often-idealised depiction. While the men pull Christ off the cross they bring forward a sense of weight as they cling onto his lifeless form. Rembrandt also uses complex lighting to enforce the importance of the occurring scene; rays of light shine down onto the central figures casting bystanders into the shadows and creating a hierarchy of importance.

Provenance: Mrs Ernest Innes, 4 Audley Square, London, sold Winkworths [auctioneers], 9 April 1918, lot 503, where purchased by Mrs Arthur Colvile, and by descent to the present owner. 

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This engraving has not been inspected out of the frame and the following is apparent.

The engraving has a repaired triangular tear to the top margin, directly above the the Cross. The repaired area measures approximately 4cm high x 8cm wide. In addition, there is a repaired tear to the mid left margin, extending approximately 2.5cm from the edge of the work. 

There is also some isolated light foxing.

There appears to be clear margins to all four sides of the image when viewd within the frame.

The frame is chipped to top and scuffed throughout to edges. The backboard bears a stamp for Dearth & Son, Upper St Martins Lane, London.

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