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Storytelling in Miniature

Rembrandt van Rijn
Dutch, 1606–1669

Schoolmaster

Etching and drypoint, 1641
3 15/16 x 2 11/16 in.
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles L. McKelvy, Jr., 1976.162

Rembrandt’s masterful manipulation of light and shadow give depth and emotion to this simple genre scene. Surrounded by children in the shadows of the foreground, only the barest highlight reflects from the schoolmaster’s face. Standing in the doorway, a woman is strongly illuminated from the side and behind, bringing the profile of her face into sharp detail. The artist creatively signed this print, in the plate, with the inscription on the half-open door.