Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors and Architects and Curiosities of Art (Vol. 3 of 3) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 298 pages of information about Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors and Architects and Curiosities of Art (Vol. 3 of 3).
of his etchings at Venice, to make them more saleable, led some of his biographers to believe that he visited Italy, and resided at Venice in 1635 and 1636; but it has been satisfactorily proved that he never left Holland, though he constantly threatened to do so, in order to increase the sale of his works.  As early as 1628, he applied himself zealously to etching, and soon acquired great perfection in the art.  His etchings were esteemed as highly as his paintings, and he had recourse to several artifices to raise their price and increase their sales.  For example, he sold impressions from the unfinished plates, then finished them, and after having used them, made some slight alterations, and thus sold the same works three or four times; producing what connoisseurs term variations in prints.  By these practices, and his parsimonious manner of living, Rembrandt amassed a large fortune.


His works are numerous, and are dispersed in various public and private collections of Europe; and when they are offered for sale they command enormous prices.  There are eight of his pictures in the English National Gallery; one of these, the Woman taken in Adultery, formerly in the Orleans collection, sold for L5000.  In Smith’s Catalogue raisonne is a description of six hundred and forty pictures by him, the public and private galleries and collections in which they were located at the time of the publication of the work, together with a copious list of his drawings and etchings, and much other interesting information.  He left many studies, sketches, and drawings, executed in a charming style, which are now scarce and valuable.


Rembrandt holds a distinguished rank among the engravers of his country; he established a more important epoch in this art than any other master.  He was indebted entirely to his own genius for the invention of a process which has thrown an indescribable charm over his plates.  They are partly etched, frequently much assisted by the dry point, and occasionally, though rarely, finished with the graver; evincing the most extraordinary facility of hand, and displaying the most consummate knowledge of light and shadow.  His free and playful point sports in picturesque disorder, producing the most surprising and enchanting effects, as if by accident; yet an examination will show that his motions are always regulated by a profound knowledge of the principles of light and shadow.  His most admirable productions in both arts are his portraits, which are executed with unexampled expression and skill.  For a full description of his prints, the reader is referred to Bartsch’s Peintre Graveur.

His prints are very numerous, yet they command very high prices.  The largest collection of his prints known, was made by M. de Burgy at the Hague, who died in 1755.  This collection contained 665 prints with their variations, namely, 257 portraits, 161 histories, 155 figures, and 85 landscapes.  There are no less than 27 portraits of Rembrandt by himself.

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