Rembrandt’s Lesser-Known Genius

We all know of Rembrandt’s great paintings, from Night Watch to The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp, but the genius of this great Dutch artist did not stop when the paint brush did. Rembrandt also had a skill for print making and etching, a skill currently on display at the Museum of Fine Arts. This exhibit full of small, black and white pieces seems easy to overlook amid the numerous large, colorful paintings, sculptures, and the new Hippie Chic exhibit, but if you give the pieces a second chance, you will find an amazingly intricate collection that, in the words of Cate McQuaid, bested the efforts of many of the other painters of the 1600’s:

Artists of that era often used prints to prop up their careers, selling print versions of their paintings. Rembrandt, who struggled with bankruptcy, did what he could to boost his career, but it wasn’t his habit to copy his paintings. That would have been a bore for this voracious experimenter. His prints are hardly static afterthoughts. In each, he puzzles and pushes to create a dynamic composition and tell a provocative story.

Cate McQuaid’s article, which you can access here, beautifully sums up the exhibit which we at the Core office have enjoyed so well. The seeming simplicity of prints as well as Rembrandt’s impecable skills playing with shadow — the subtleties of light and dark, the depth of shadows — draw the viewer into the details recreating a tiny piece into something as intricate as the other works at the MFA such as “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?”. Regardless of your tastes, it’s well worth a look, but of course, we at the Core Office can barely ever stay away from museums, especially the Museum of Fine Arts which is free to all BU students with a Student ID.

So enjoy, go explore the city. Journey on Scholars. We’re right behind you.

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