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Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt exhibition opens at the Currier Museum of Art
Willem Buytewech, The Ruins of Brederode Castle near Haarlem, 1621, etching, 3 3/8 in. x 4 7/8 in. Currier Museum Purchase: The Henry Melville Fuller Acquisition Fund.

MANCHESTER, NH.- Visitors to the Currier Museum of Art’s Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt exhibition will explore the rich culture and history of the Netherlands in the 17th-century when printmaking played a central role in the Dutch Golden Age and made art accessible to a much wider group of people than ever before.

The exhibition, on view September 29, 2012 through January 6, 2013, showcases how Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), more so than any artist of his time, realized the full expressive potential of the etching medium, elevating printmaking to a fine art on par with painting and sculpture. His prints were in such high demand, that it was this body of work, not his paintings, that brought Rembrandt international fame during his lifetime. Visitors will also have the opportunity to view three extraordinary drawings by Rembrandt, which illustrate precisely why the artist is acclaimed universally for his skills as a draftsman.

“The works on display by Rembrandt and his contemporaries date from the Golden Age of printmaking when a spirit of invention and creation permeated artistic circles in the Netherlands,” said Curator Kurt Sundstrom. Adding, “The drawings and prints illustrate a mastery of technique, showing realistic details and human emotions that are just as compelling today as when they were made.”

Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt is the first presentation of a rare collection of old master prints purchased by the Currier Museum in 2010.The prints and etchings by Rembrandt and his contemporaries like Esaias van de Velde, Jacob van Rusidael and Adriaen van Ostade show how Dutch artists began to explore a variety of genres and found new subjects worthy of artistic representation.

Landscapes and historical subjects, as well as literary and religious narratives are presented in a realistic and dynamic manner, which was revolutionary at the time. This new artistic style was characterized by naturalistic compositions rendered with keen attention to detail. Visitors to the exhibition will be encouraged to explore these details with the aid of magnifying glasses in the gallery.

The exhibition includes 75 prints by more than a dozen artists, including Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617), who had a profound influence on Rembrandt. Goltzius’ prints are respected for their ingenious storytelling, technical mastery and inventive figural compositions such as his rendering of a model military officer in The Captain of the Infantry.

To demonstrate that many artists worked in more than one medium and treated similar subjects, paintings are also incorporated into Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt, including a major landscape by Jacob van Ruisdael, as well as narrative subjects by Jan Steen and Joachim Wtewael on loan from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo collection.

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