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ETCHING The Shell
The Shell (Conus Marmoreus) (B159),1650.
Etching, engraving and drypoint, state II(3).
The image size is 9.7 x 13.2 cm.
The shell seen here was almost certainly part of the collection of shells in Rembrand's "art room", referred to in the inventory of 1656. It is the only still life that Rembrandt ever etched.
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.
The etching is available without (w.m.) or with a mount. The mount is cream coloured, 30 x 40 cm.