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ETCHING Beggars Receiving Alms at the Door
The etching is available without (w.m.) or with a mount. The mount is cream coloured, 30 x 40 cm.
Beggars receiving alms at the door of a house (B176), 1648.
Etching, drypoint and burin, state I (3).
The image size is 16.5 x 12.8 cm.
This etching, a blind hurdy-gurdy player and family receiving alms, is interesting compared with an earlier work of similar composition. The print of the beggars at the door shows how far Rembrandt has progressed over the years. Here the whole stucture of the picture is simpler and more readily appreciated: details that distract the attention have disappeared and the result is less picturesque, but there is greater strength in the way the forms are conveyed.
Handprinted etching: how do we make the most beautiful reproductions of Rembrandt's etchings? First the etching is photographed. The best photograph is transferred to a copper plate which is covered with a special layer to make it sensitive to light. All the unexposed areas in this layer where black lines occur can then be washed away. The copper is exposed and grooves are created when the plate is subsequently immersed in a bath of acid. While looking through a stereomicroscope the engraver cuts the lines in the plate by hand. He uses a sharp burin and works with meticulous care, constantly comparing his work with the original, following the hand of Rembrandt. Once the plate is ready, it can be printed. The printing is done by hand. The final result comes very close to Rembrandt's original. It is as if the master himself has been at work.