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The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century

Rembrandt van Rijn
Dutch, 1606–1669

Christ Preaching (The Hundred Guilder Print)

Etching, engraving, and drypoint, about 1649
Fredrick B. and Kate L. Shoemaker Fund, 1934.92

Rembrandt’s remarkable handling of light and shadow gives depth to the emotions and meaning of this combination of incidents from the Bible’s Book of Matthew—note, for instance, the shadow of the praying hands on Christ’s robe. Light seems to come from Christ himself, suggesting the extraordinary spiritual presence that irresistibly draws the diverse crowd. Rembrandt includes the sick, the poor, the skeptical Pharisees, and the wealthy man, seated to Christ’s right, about whom Jesus proclaimed, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (verse 24). Rembrandt even includes the camel.The print earned its nickname not long after its creation when it sold at auction for the exorbitant price of 100 guilders—a high sum even for paintings at the time.