Rembrandt van Rijn is generally considered one of the finest painters and printmakers in Europe and the most important in Dutch History. He is most remembered for his intimate self-portraits and biblical scenes. Although there are prints from nearly every year of Rembrandt’s artistic career, this etching was likely created in the 1630s when he was especially captivated with making etchings of landscapes. Rembrandt’s prints are generally dateable by how experimental his techniques are. Rembrandt’s early prints utilize a style similar to drawing that feature strong guiding lines. His later prints use a technique closer to painting where masses of hatched lines and multiple acid bitings created a greater depth of shade. Towards the very end of his career Rembrandt experimented with printing on different papers with multiple etching techniques. This etching exhibits a strong diagonal composition–something Rembrandt favored. The scene is nearly perfectly bisected leaving a clear swath of sky. In this way Rembrandt highlights the aspects of the scene he wants the viewer to focus on: the windswept trees enclosing a Dutch farmhouse, a reflective lake, and a small cow stooping to drink.
-Susan Bonta, Class of 2018